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Professor of Greek in Yale College ; President <y the American Oriental 

Society ; Vice-President of the American Philological Associatioti : 

Member of the Xatiotial Academy of Sciences, etc., etc. 

ITflttiion : 







The articles contained in this volume have been selected 
from among the papers, published and unpublished, left by 
Professor Hadley, and are put forth by his family and friends. 
He died on the 14th of November, 1872, in the fifty-second 
year of his age. He had been for twenty-seven years an in- 
structor in Yale College, entering its service as tutor in 1845, 
being appointed assistant professor of Greek in 1848, and 
succeeding President Woolsey in the principal charge of that 
department in 1851. A sketch of his life, with an estimate of 
his character as a man and as a scholar, is given by President 
Porter in the New Englander for January-, 1873, and has also 
been issued as a pamphlet, accompanied by an account of his 
early studies, drawn up by himself many years ago, and by a 
nearly complete list of his literary productions, with the times 
and places of their composition and publication. 

Of the papers here given, the following have already ap- 
peared : Art. I., on the Ionian Migration (first part), in the 
Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. v., 1856; 
Art. IV., on Bekker's Digammated Homer, in the Transac- 
tions of the Connecticut Academy, vol. i., 1866; Arts. VI. 
and VII., on Greek Accent and Greek Pronunciation in the 
tenth century, and Art. XV. , on English Vowel Quantity, in 
the Transactions of the American Philological Association, 
1869-72 ; Art. XIV., on Ellis's Early English Pronunciation, 
in the North American Review, vol. ex., 1870; Arts. XVI. 
and XVI I., on Tennyson's Princess and the Number Seven, 
in the New Englander, vols, vii., 1849, and xvi., 1858; and 
Art. XX., on the Language of Palestine at the Time of 
Christ, in Messrs. Hackett and Abbot's edition of Smith's 
Bible Dictionary, vol. ii., 1868. Thanks are due, and are here 


publicly given, to the proprietors of the several works named, 
for kindly permitting the republications made in this volume. 
Art. VI., it may be added, has been reproduced, in German 
translation, in Professor G. Curtius's Studien ziir GriecJiischen 
wid Lateinischen Granimatik, vol. v., 1872. To Art. XV., 
on English Vowel Quantity, there is added in the original a 
" list of all the words, not already noticed, which appear in 
the Ormulum with the same vowel quantity which they have 
in modern English," occupying twelve pages; this Hst it was 
thought better to omit here. 

Of the remaining essays, the larger number (together with 
some of the preceding) were prepared for the American Ori- 
ental Society, and read at its meetings ; such are Arts. I. 
(second part), II., III., Vllh, IX., X., XIII., and XIX.; 
others — namely. Arts. V. and XII. — were presented to the 
Classical and Philological Society of Yale College ; and one. 
Art. XL, was brought before the Connecticut Academy, 
but at a meeting of which the record is lost ; its precise date 
is therefore uncertain. The XVIIIth article, the Class De- 
cisions, calls for a word of explanation. As one of the Col- 
lege instructors and officers. Professor Hadley was accustomed 
to preside at weekly "disputes" in the Junior class — the 
reading of essays upon selected questions — and to review and^ 
sum up the arguments brought forward, giving his own 
opinions on the subject discussed. In preparation for this 
exercise, it was his habit often to write out beforehand his 
views, not for reading to the class, but as part of the ground- 
work of his " decision ; " and of such written arguments he 
has left a considerable mass (about a hundred and fifty in 
number). These exercises were always greatly enjoyed by 
the class ; and it is partly in response to wishes warmly ex- 
pressed from various quarters that a selection from the de- 
cisions is here included. They must be taken for what they 
are — thoroughly off-hand productions, written airrcnte calamo 
and without special preparation, and in no case revised or 
corrected. Their author, doubtless, would never have thought 
of such a thing as making any of them public ; but it seemed 
highly proper that, in, a volume intended as a memorial and 
illustration of his scholarly life, they should not be passed 


over. They will show, on the one hand, the zeal and devo- 
tion with which he performed his College duties, and, on the 
other, the rapidity and precision with which he thought and 
wrote ; they will be valued especially by his numerous pupils, 
and by all the graduates and friends of Yale College. 

There are perhaps other essays in the volume which their 
author might not himself have chosen to publish. There are 
certainly some which he would not have let pass from his 
hands without a thorough revision. This is especially true of 
the essays in comparative philology (Arts. II. and IX. -XI.) ; 
the progress of investigation and deduction in this department 
is so rapid that no one's views can remain long absolutely 
unmodified. But although these essays need not be taken as 
representing in evefy item Professor Hadley's final opinions, 
it has not been thought worth while to alter or annotate them ; 
as popular summaries they are authoritative, and by the 
special student who shall criticise them in detail they need 
only to have their date duly considered. 

The plan of arrangement of the volume has been to put 
first the Greek articles, next those in general philology, then 
those upon English, and last the more miscellaneous and 
lighter papers ; each division being arranged nearly chrono- 
logically. Taken together, they will measurably illustrate the 
wide range and varied direction of their author's studies — but 
with the exception, especially, of three departments : mathe- 
matics, where he early displayed an ability that bade fair, if 
he had continued his devotion to it, to place him among the 
foremost men of the day in that branch of science ; Celtic 
philology, in which he was a proficient ; and the Roman Law, 
his academical lectures on which are published in a separate 
volume, simultaneously with this. 

And yet it may also be said with truth that the specimens 
of his work here presented are far from fully exhibiting his 
powers and acquirements. He was a man who*put a larger 
share of himself into his personal teachings, and a smaller into 
what he gave to the world at large, than most others. He 
was absolutely without the desire to shine, and he needed the 
impulse of a more imperative call than he ever received to 
draw him fully out of his mo.dest retirement. It is no proper 


place here to extol his abilities before the wider public which 
will, as it has the right to do, judge them by his recorded 
work, and which will do them justice ; and yet I cannot close 
this preface without a word of recognition of them, of appre- 
ciation of his worth and sorrow at his loss. In extent and 
accuracy of knowledge, in retentiveness and readiness of 
memory, in penetration and justness of judgment, I have 
never met his equal. Whatever others may have done, he 
was, in the opinion of all who knew him most fully, America's 
best and soundest philologist, and his death, in the maturity 
and highest activity of his powers, is a national calamity, a 
calamity to the world of scholars. Especially painful and 
irreparable to me has been the loss of a fellow-student to 
whom I had for twenty-three years looked up as a teacher, a 
colleague and friend whose counsel and sympathy I had so 
long enjoyed, and the purity and elevation of whose character 
had been to me a model of human excellence ; and I have 
found it a very sad pleasure to assist his family in arranging 
and publishing thig memorial of his high and varied scholar- 

W. D. Whitney. 

Yale Coixege, New Haven, April, i873> 



Preface. Ill 

I. The Ionian Migration : 

1. The lonians before the Ionian Migration i 

2. Recent Discussion and Opinion concerning the Ionian Migra- 

tion 20 

II. The Root prach in the Greek Language. 37 

III. The Greek Genitive as an Ablative Case 44 

IV. On Bekker's Digammated Text of Homer 56 

V. On Ancient Greek Rhythm and Metre 81 

VI. On the Nature and Theory of the Greek Accent no 

VII. On the Byzantine Greek Pronunciation of the Tenth Century, as illus- 
trated by a Manuscript in the Bodleian Library 1 28 

VIII. Ross on Italicans and Greeks 141 

IX. On Indo-European Aspirate Mutes 16S 

X. On the Formation of Indo-European Futures 184 

XI. On Passive Formations. 199 

XII. Remarks on the Uses of the Latin Subjunctive 215 

XIII. On the Origin of the English Possessive Case 221 

XIV. Ellis's Early English Pronimciation 240 

XV. On English Vowel Quantity in the Thirteenth Century and in the 

Nineteenth- 263 

XVI. Tennyson's Princess 296 

XVII. The Number Seven 325 

XVIII. Decisions of College Class Disputes : 

1. Are the Writings of Lord B)Ton Immoral in their Tendency?.. 346 

2. Is Ancient Eloquence Superior to Modem ? 349 

3. Is a Reform Desirable in the Method of Writing the English 

Language ? 351 

4. Was Ci\'il Liberty in Europe promoted by the Career of Napo- 

leon ? 356 

5. Is Euroj)e tending to Republicanism ? 361 

6. Should Day-Dreaming be indulged in? 369 

7. Can Immortality be show-n from the Light of Nature ? 373 

8. Is an exclusively Vegetable Diet Advantageous ? 379 

XIX. On the Hebrew Chronology from Moses to Solomon 3S5 

XX. On the Language of Palestine at the Time of Christ 403 

Index 419 




THE name of Ernst Curtius is well known to American 
scholars from his excellent volumes on the geography of 
Peloponnesus, as well as several smaller works. His essay, 
published last year under the title above given, presents novel 
and interesting views in regard to the earliest times of Greece. 
I propose in this article to give a brief statement of those 
views, with some criticism of the arguments by which they 
are supported. It will appear, as I proceed, that the subject, 
though belonging to Greek histor>% is one which has its claims 
upon the attention of an Oriental Society. 

At the outset of authentic Greek history, we find the west- 
ern coast of Asia Minor, with the neighboring islands, occu- 
pied by Greeks, undoubted members of the Hellenic body. 
Of these the largest portion, extending on the mainland from 
the mouth of the Hermus to that of the Maeander, and hold- 
ing the important islands of Chios and Samos, called them- 
selves lonians — a name which belonged to them in common 
with the inhabitants of Attica and Euboea on the west of the 
^Egean, as well as the island group of the Cyclades in the 
centre of that sea. The Asiatic lonians, after passing through 
a long career of independence and prosperity, were incorpo- 
rated about 550 B. C. into the kingdom of the Lydian Croesus, 
along with which they came only a few years later into" the 
more comprehensive and permanent empire of the Persian 
Cyrus. This was the close of their independent existence. 
For its commencement we must go back to the mythic period 
— at least to a period lying on the debatable ground between 
history and mythus. In the traditions of the Greeks as to 
their own early times, we find the origin of the Asiatic lo- 

* Die lonier vor der lonischen Wanderung, von Ernst Curtius. Berlin, 1855. 
8vo. pp. 56. 


nians traced up to an ancient colonization from the west, by- 
emigrants who came from European Greece. This emigra- 
tion is represented as one consequence, among many, of the 
great event which stands on the threshold of Greek history, 
itself obscurely seen, but sufficiently recognized as the cause 
or occasion of almost all we see in early Greece — the invasion 
and conquest of Peloponnesus by the Dorians. The story is 
briefly this : I condense from Grote. " A multitude of 
refugees from various parts of Greece, fleeing before the Dori- 
an invaders, sought shelter in Attica. Alarmed by the grow- 
ing populati^i of that territory, the Dorians of Peloponnesus 
marched against it with a powerful army ; but finding that 
victory had been assured to the Athenians by the generous 
self-devotion of their king Codrus, they gave up the enterprise 
and returned home. The Athenians on the death of Codrus 
abolished the kingship ; but his descendants for several gener- 
ations held the supreme power as archons for life. His two 
sons, Medon and Neileus, having quarreled about the succes- 
.sion, the Delphian oracle decided in favor of the former ; 
whereupon the latter, affronted at the preference, resolved to 
seek a new home. There were at this moment many dispos- 
sessed sections of Greeks, and an adventitious population, 
accumulated in Athens, who were anxious for settlements 
beyond sea. The expeditions which now set forth to cross 
the ^gean, chiefly under the conduct of members of the 
Codrid family, composed collectively the memorable Ionic 
Emigration, of which the lonians, recently expelled from 
Peloponnesus, formed only a part ; for we hear of many quite 
distinct races, some renowned in legend, who withdrew from 
Greece amidst this assemblage of colonists. The Kadmeians, 
the Minyai of Orchomenus, the Abantes of Euboea, the Dry- 
opes ; the Molossi, the Phokians, the Boeotians, the Arcadian 
Pelasgians, and even the Dorians of Epidaurus — are repre- 
sented as furnishing each a proportion of the crews of those 
emigrant vessels. At the same time other mythic families 
beside the Codrids, the lineage of Neleus and Nestor, took 
part in the expedition. Herodotus mentions Lykian chiefs, 
descendants of Glaukus, and Pausanias tells us of Philotas a 
descendant of Peneleos, who went at the head of a body of 


Thebans. Prokles, the chief who conducted the Ionic emi- 
grants from Epidaurus to Samos, was said to be of the Hneage 
of Ion son of Xuthus. The results were not unworthy of 
this great gathering of chiefs and races. The Cyclades Avere 
colonized, as also the large islands of Samos and Chios near 
the Asiatic shore, while ten different cities on the coast of 
Asia Minor, from Miletus on the south to Phokaea on the 
north, were founded, and all adopted the Ionic name. Athens 
was the metropolis or mother city of all of them : Androklus 
and Neileus, the CEkists of Ephesus and Miletus, and proba- 
bly other CEkists also, started from the Prytaneium at Athens 
with those solemnities, religious and political, which usually 
marked the departure of a swarm of Grecian colonists." Such 
is the traditional account. The main fact contained in it may 
be regarded as certain — that after the Dorian conquest of 
southern Greece, and in consequence of that event, large 
bodies of Greeks, the most important part of them lonians, 
set forth, chiefly from the coast of Attica, to cross the ^gean 
Sea. The time of this migration may be set down by a loose 
approximation at looo years before our era. 

Now the principal thesis of Curtius in his Essay is this : 
that in the migration just described, the lonians of Greece 
were going home, to their own countrj-- and kindred. It was 
the returning emigration to a land from which, ages before, 
their fathers had passed over into Greece — and not only that, 
but a land which had never ceased to be occupied by the 
same race, by a people of Ionian name and lineage. They 
found, on arriving in Asia, not only Dardanians, Carians, Ly- 
cians, and other tribes, which Curtius regards as differing 
not very widely from lonians in language and culture ; but 
they found .there lonians, identified with themselves by virtue 
of the common name, origin, and traditions. They found in 
fact the lonians — the principal branch as well as the elder of 
their race — who in these Asiatic seats had risen to a height of 
achievement and reputation not yet equalled by any Greeks of 
Europe. Let us, however, trace the theory more in detail, 
going back to its remote starting-point in the past, beyond 
the reach of history, beyond the reach even of mythus, where 
only ethnographic science can furnish any glimmering of light. 


The primitive Aryan colonization, flowing westward from 
Armenia into Asia Minor, filled the elevated plateaux of that 
peninsula with Phrygian races. Here the Greeks, long iden- 
tified with the Phrygian stock, first begin to be distinguished 
as Greeks, with a stamp and nationality of their own. Here 
they develop what must be considered as the common type 
of Hellenism in language and character. But almost from 
the beginning they divide themselves into two great sections. 
The one is that afterwards known in history as the Ionian. 
The other includes the remaining fractions of the Greek na- 
tion : we might call it Hellenic in a narrower sense, as being 
first to assume the Hellenic name : it is sometimes called 
iEolo-Dorian, from the designations of its leading members 
in the historic period. After a time these sections part com- 
pany. The latter or Hellenic section break up from Asia, 
cross the Hellespont and Propontis, and find new seats in 
the mountains of Thrace and Macedonia. Here they remain 
in isolated Alpine valleys, forming their separate local con- 
stitutions, until, dislodged by new movements of population, 
and pressed southward, they make their appearance in dif- 
ferent masses, as ^Eolians, Dorians, Achaeans, in Northern 
Greece. Here again in the course of time new causes arise, 
which carry portions at least of these tribes still further in the 
same direction, into Central and Southern Greece. Hence 
the occupation of Peloponnesus by the Achseans, whom the 
Homeric poems represent to us as seated in that territory 
and exercising full ascendancy. And hence too the later and 
far more important conquest of the same territory by the 
Dorians and their auxiliaries. 

The lonians meanwhile remain in Asia Minor, but no 
longer in the highlands of the interior. Descending gradu- 
ally along the great river- valleys, they at length reach the 
.^gean sea, and then, spreading themselves northward and 
southward, occupy the whole western coast — possessing thus 
a territory distinguished alike for the richness of its soil and 
the genial beauty of its climate. They are closely connected 
here by proximity and by intercourse with other tribes, such 
as the Dardanians, Lycians, Carians, Leleges, from whom in 
fact they are not separated by any broad lines of ethnical 


distinction. Under these circumstances they enter upon a 
career of activity and culture, which appears to have received 
its impulse from the Phoenicians, and to have been shared in, 
more or less, by the other tribes just mentioned. Visited at 
first by the Phoenicians for the purposes of trade, they soon 
learned from them the art of navigation, and set up business 
on their own account, as the rivals of their late masters. As- 
sociated with the Phoenicians in many parts of the ^Egean, 
and supplanting them in others, they have become inextricably 
confused with them in the traditions of the Greeks. The 
Ionian myth which represents Byblus, one of the oldest 
Phoenician cities, as the daughter of Miletus, shows perhaps 
that the lonians gained a foothold even on the coast of Syria ; 
at any rate, it is a proof of close connection between these 
two maritime peoples. There is clearer evidence to show 
that the lonians visited the coast of Egypt, and even estab- 
lished settlements, more or less permanent, in the marshy 
Delta of the Nile. This was regarded by the Egyptians 
themselves almost as foreign territory ; since we find that 
Psammetichus — the same prince, who, perhaps a thousand 
years later, opened the whole country to the Greeks — when 
banished from Egypt, took refuge in the Delta. And the 
men of brass who were announced to Psammetichus, while 
there, as having just made their appearance, and who proved 
to be a party of Ionian rovers recently landed, were but a 
specimen of their own countrymen, who, a thousand years 
earlier, made repeated descents upon the same coast for the 
mingled purposes of traffic and plunder. But the attention 
of the lonians was naturally directed more to the west. 
Crossing the vEgean Sea, they occupy first the Cyclades, and 
then Euboea and Attica. They establish their settlements on 
the Pagasaean Gulf, and on both sides of the Euripus. Traces 
of them are found along the whole eastern coast of Pelopon- 
nesus, in Corinth, Epidaurus, Troezen, Argos, and even in 
the island of Cythera. Passing- over the Isthmus, they ap- 
pear in the Corinthian Gulf, where we find them in southern 
Phocis, and much more in northern Peloponnesus, in the dis- 
trict afterward called Achaia. From thence they spread 
southward over Elis and Messene in western Peloponnesus ; 


and having thus reached the Ionian Sea, they occupy the 
Ithacan islands, and extend themselves northward to the 
island of Corcyra, and the coasts of Epirus and Illyria. 
More than this : in the mythic wanderings of -^neas, Curtius 
would recognize a traditionary representation Of Ionian set- 
tlement, which must then have stretched along the western 
coast of Italy from Eryx to the mouth of the Tiber. Even 
in Sardinia, he considers the name of a people called the 
lolaeans, and of their founder lolaos, as giving evidence of 
early Ionian colonization. 

Throughout the course of these migrations, the lonians carry 
with them the culture of the vine and the worship of the wine- 
god Dionysus. Everywhere we find them settling along the 
coasts, and showing an especial preference for the rich, though 
marshy, alluvium at the mouth of rivers. Occasionally, how- 
ever, they follow up a river-valley quite into the interior of a 
district, as in Boeotia, where the Asopus leads them to the in- 
land city of Thebes. Everywhere wandering in ships, they 
wander without women ; and hence their colonization appears 
as the establishment of a few foreign settlers among a native 
population, whom they do not attempt to dispossess, but ex- 
ercise over them the natural ascendancy of superior ability 
and civilization. Thus in Attica there is no change of popu- 
lation : the primitive people, whom Greek tradition names 
Pelasgi, remain in their old seats, unchanged except as they 
are civilized. Ionized by the foreigners from Asia. The Egyp- 
tian Cecrops, the mythic author of civilization in Attica, is 
no proper Egyptian, but an Ionian, who had become domi- 
ciled in Egypt, A similar view is taken of Danaus the 
Egyptian founder of Argos. These traditions of early con- 
nections between Egypt and Greece are, in the view of Curtius, 
too deeply rooted and too widely ramified to have sprung up, 
as K. O. Miiller assumed, after the comparatively recent pe- 
riod when the Egyptians under Psammetichus came into 
closer relations with the Greeks. Yet, on the other hand, it 
seems equally evident that no influence strktly and properly 
Egyptian could have had a leading part in moulding the civi- 
lization, substantially homogeneous and independent, of early 
Greece, The difficulty finds its solution in the view that these 


Egj'ptian settlers, who figure in tradition, were lonians, who 
had found a residence in Egypt and came from thence to 
Greece. The Phoenician Cadmus and his colonization of 
Thebes are treated in the same way. Curtius does not deny, 
indeed, that there were in Greece, to a greater or less extent, 
ancient settlements of native Phoenicians ; but he maintains 
confidently that no such alien Semitic settlers could have 
gained historic importance as founders of royal or sacerdotal 
families. It is of course still easier to connect the Phrygian 
Pelops, and his immigration into the peninsula which took his 
name, with the colonial extension of the Ionian race. The 
Argonautic expedition is a story of Ionian adventure. Its 
leader, who comes into Thessaly an unknown wanderer, bears 
a name, Jason i^Iaawv), which stamps him as Ionian ; and 
its Thessalian starting-point, lolcos or laolcos, is with great 
probability explained as meaning ' the naval station of the 

Here on the coast of Thessaly the lonians are again brought 
into contact with their brethren of ^olo-Dorian descent. 
After a local separation of generations and centuries, these 
long-sundered sections of the Grecian people arfc brought once 
more into local connection. The most conspicuous result is 
the formation of the celebrated Amphictyonic League, the 
oldest and largest and most influential of the Grecian Amphic- 
tyonies. It is a religious association of Thessalian tribes 
(neighbors to one another, ^A/j,<f>tKTiojf€s:) for the common 
worship of the god Apollo. The lonians, after being for a 
long time worshippers preeminently of the god Poseidon, of 
whom the western Greeks at that time knew as little as 
of the element he ruled, had in their eastern home re- 
ceived the Apollo-worship — a new religion, as Curtius calls 
it, which everywhere exercised a transforming and inspiring 
influence on its converts. Zealously devoted to its propa- 
gation, they introduced it among their brethren of Thessaly. 
Thus in the Amphictyonic deity we find a proof of Ionian in- 
fluence ; which appears further in the frequently-recurring 
Ionian number twelve, as that of the confederate tribes. The 
Amphictyonic League, though primarily a religious organiza- 
tion, expressed political aspirations, and worked toward po- 


litical results. It produced a feeling of closer union and of 
common brotherhood among its members, which led to the 
adoption of the Hellenic name as a common designation for 
the united Amphictyonic people. Hellen in the myths is 
either father or brother of Amphictyon. Hence the tribes 
of Macedonia and Epirus, however closely resembling the 
Hellenes, never received the Hellenic name, which belongs 
only to the Amphictyonic tribes and the districts which come 
under their control or influence. 

Although Ionian influence, as we have seen, was predomi- 
nant in the origin of the Delphic Amphictyony, that first re- 
union and organization of the Greek races, yet the relative 
weight of parties did not always remain the same. A re- 
action at length commenced — a reaction of the older tribes in 
the interior against the newer occupants of the sea-board — of 
the western Greeks against their emigrant brethren from the 
east. The ruder tribes of Thessaly, receiving the imported 
civilization of the lonians, come at length to feel themselves 
the equals of their late instructors, and can no longer brook 
the ascendancy to which they at first submitted. Hence a 
decided revolution in the political state of Greece, proceeding 
from Thessaly, and having for its ultimate result the almost 
complete expulsion of the lonians from European Greece. 
But this revolution is the work of ages, and has its different 
epochs, according to the different races who successively ap- 
pear to carry it forward. 

First, the ^Eolians, who are represented in the traditions as 
arising from a mixture of the inland tribes with the maritime 
population of the sea-board. Though in fact supplanting the 
lonians, they do not appear as their opponents or even as 
their rivals. The .Solids are themselves bearers of Ionian 
cultivation and t)ie worship of Poseidon ; their royal seats, as 
lolcos and Corinth, are stations of Ionian colonization ; their 
mythic heroes, as Jason and Sisyphus, are representatives of 
Asiatic culture. 

Second, the Achaeans are likewise in many ways closely 
connected with the lonians, as the mythus intimates, when it 
makes both Ion and Achaeus sons of Apollo. Yet the miH- 
tary exaltation of the Achaeans is the first great blow to Ionian 


preponderance in Greece. While the Achaeans of Phthiotis 
press on toward the sea-coast of Thessaly, the other branch 
of that people conquer the Peloponnesus, form new states 
there hostile to the lonians, whom they expel from Troezen 
and other parts of Argolis, and with fleets of their own begin 
those struggles with the tribes of Asia Minor which are com- 
memorated in tlie legends of the Trojan war — a war in which 
the Ionian peoples, as the Athenians, take scarcely any part, 
while heroes akin to the lonians, as Palamedes and Odysseus, 
enter into it with reluctance. 

Third, the Dorians, a people much more alien to the lonians 
and much more independent of their influence ; a people who 
adhere with tenacity to their original peculiarities of life and 
character ; in them was first seen the full native vigor of the 
mountain tribes. Breaking up from their seats in Mt. CEta, 
they cross the Corinthian Gulf, by a gradual conquest over- 
throw the Achaean power, and make themselves masters of 
nearly all Peloponnesus. As they advance, the lonians every- 
where lose ground ; on all sides they are driven back to their 
ships : and now begins a great retreat of the lonians from 
their settlements in the west ; a great return to their mother 
country on the east of the .^gean Sea. Only in Attica do 
they at last succeed in making an effectual stand : thus main- 
taining a foothold in European Greece, and preventing Hel- 
lenic history from being again divided, as it had been, ages 
before, between two distinct races upon opposite sides of the 
iEgean. Even in Asia Minor they are not by themselves. 
Achaean and Dorian colonies reproduce there the collisions of 
western Greece, keeping up a restless activity of mind, by 
which Ionian art is stimulated to a rapid development, until 
it puts forth its fairest blossom in the Homeric Epos. Still, 
in the Dorian and ^olian districts of Asia Minor, the basis 
of population remained essentially Ionian : and in the Ionian 
revolt, as it is called, the whole people of the western coast, 
from Lycia to the Propontis, rose as one people against the 
barbarian conqueror. 

Such is the theory of this ingenious and strikingly written 
essay. Before taking up any points in the argument on which 
it rests, we must observe that this idea of lonians in Asia pre- 


vious to the Ionian Migration is wholly foreign to the mythic 
or semi-historical traditions of the Greeks themselves. It may 
be shown, perhaps, that in those traditions there are state- 
ments which imply the existence of a primitive Ionian people 
in that region ; statements which cannot be explained on any 
other supposition. But it is confessedly true that the tradi- 
tions conveyed no such idea to the ancient Greeks who had 
them ; certainly not, after they had assumed the forms in 
which they have come down to us. 

In looking at the evidence on which our author relies, to 
sustain a proposition of which no memory is found in the 
most ancietit literature and tradition of Greece, it is natural to 
inquire, first, whether any testimony can be gleaned from early 
Oriental sources. Here Curtius finds a confirmation of his 
views in the name given to the Greeks by all the ancient 
nations of the East. It is well known that the common form 
^Iq}V€^ is made by a contraction of the earlier 'Idove<i ; and there 
is great reason to believe that this latter form had originally a 
medial digamma, and was pronounced 'Idrove^, sing. 'laFcov. 
Now the Greeks are called by the Indians Javanas, by the 
Hebrews Javan, by the Persians Juna or Jauna, in Aramaic 
Jaunojo, in Arabic Jaunani, in Armenian Juin, and in Coptic 
Uinin. It can hardly be doubted that these are all forms of 
one and the same name ; and that this is no other than 'IdFcav 
or 'IdFov€<i, the special name of the Ionian Greeks. We may 
not unreasonably suppose that it was the Phoenicians who first 
applied this name as a common designation for the whole 
Greek people, and that the widely-extended commerce of the 
Phoenicians was the means of its diffusion throughout Asia. 
It is further probable that the Phoenicians had the name in 
this use of it before the time of the Ionian Migration. We 
find it in the tenth chapter of the book of Genesis, in the list 
of Noachids, where it undoubtedly refers, not to a part of 
the Greeks, but to the whole people. This document, if of 
Mosaic origin, is at least thirteen centuries older than the 
Christian era : while, even among those who deny its Mosaic 
origin, it is allowed by all the sounder critics to be older than 
the division of the Hebrew monarchy. But this occurred 
about 1000 B. C, perhaps at the same time with the Ionian 


Migration, probably not later than that event. W^at shall 
we conclude, then, from this early use of the Ionian name as 
a designation for the whole Hellenic people ? Curtius replies 
— the fact is inexplicable unless we assume that, of all the 
Grecian tribes, the Ionian was the first which became known 
to the Orientals ; it must have existed as their neighbor and 
carried on intercourse with them by land and water, not 
simply as early or a little earlier than Cohans and Dorians, 
but long before all other Greeks. It appears to me that this 
language overstates the case. On the coast of Syria at the 
present day all Europeans are Franks. Yet other nations of 
Europe beside the French were represented in the first cru- 
sade, and still more in the second, which followed only a half 
century later. On the other hand, the Europeans have given 
the common name of Tartars to the nomadic tribes east of the 
Caspian Sea. Yet it is certain that even the first invading 
hordes, which entered Europe under the successors of Gen- 
ghiz Khan, were not composed wholly or principally of Tartars 
properly so called. Because the French give the name of 
Allemands to all the Germans, it surely does not follow that 
their ancestors for a long time were acquainted with no Ger- 
mans' except those included in the Alemannic confederacy. 
As to the case in hand, we can only say (assuming that the 
PhcEnicians were the first who used Ionian for Greek) that 
either the lonians were the first Greeks known to the Phoeni- 
cians, or they were somehow, from greater proximity, or 
closer intercourse, or some one of many other possible rea- 
sons, more prominently present to the view of the Phoeni- 
cians, when. this use of the name originated. 

A second testimony is supposed to be furnished by early 
Egyptian records. On the celebrated Rosetta stone, and on 
other monuments of the Macedonian and Roman periods, the 
idea 'Greek' is represented by a hieroglyphic group consist- 
ing, first, of three papyrus plants standing side by side, and 
secondly, of three baskets placed one above another. These 
elements, it is said, give the meaning 'Lords of the North.' 
The pronunciation of the group, as determined by a compari- 
son of the demotic characters in the Rosetta inscription, is 
said to be unquestionably TJinen^ which we have just^seen to 


be the Coptic name for the Greeks. Now the same hiero- 
glyphic group is found upon a series of monuments belonging 
to the early Pharaohs, and always in reference to a people 
described as subject to the kings of Egypt. Of these kings, 
some — as Amenophis II, Sethos I or Sesonchis I — belong to 
the great heroic dynasties of Thebes, the eighteenth and nine- 
teenth dynasties, in the fifteenth and fourteenth centuries : 
others to the twenty-second dynasty and the tenth century, 
as Sesonchis, the Shishak of the Old Testament, the con- 
queror of Jerusalem. It would seem, therefore, that several of 
the early Egyptian sovereigns claimed to be masters of the 
Uinen, lonians or Greeks. Curtius does not suppose, what 
indeed would be in the highest degree improbable, that these 
records refer to expeditions by sea or land sent out from 
Egypt to the western border of Asia Minor, and there sub- 
duing or pretending to subdue the Ionian population of the 
country. He considers them as referring to lonians of Egypt, 
settled in the Delta of the Nile, who may at various times 
have been attacked and perhaps reduced to submission, more 
or less complete, by native sovereigns of the country. It 
appears from the researches of Lepsius that this name belongs 
to a group containing nine names of nations, which recur in 
the same fixed order, the supposed Uinen standing first among 
them, and Egypt itself, upper and lower, being included in 
the series. That all the others beside Egypt belong to foreign 
nations is inferred from the fact that in a Theban tomb the 
bearers of the two Egyptian shields are plainly distinguished 
from the other seven by their red complexion and peculiar 
hair-dress. These are the statements. If they -really prove 
that Ionian settlements were made in Egypt as early as four- 
teen or fifteen centuries before Christ, they doubtless serve to 
confi5;m the theory of Curtius. It does not appear, indeed, 
that the monuments give any direct indication as to what part 
of the world these Uinen (if they are rightly read so) come 
from. But it is certainly more probable that such Ionian 
settlements, if actually made in Egypt, should have been made 
from Asia Minor than from European Greece. But we seem 
to have here what may eventually turn out to be a good argu- 
ment, rather than what we can now receive and rely upon as 


such. Even Curtius does not appear to expect that it will 
produce general conviction. " Every first attempt," he says, 
" to connect Greek and Egyptian history with one another, 
to supplement the beginnings of one by materials drawn from 
the other, must, however cautiously undertaken, encounter 
manifold objection, consisting either in a vague and general 
want of confidence, or in scientific doubts as to the correctness 
of the method and the certainty of the facts made use of." In 
the present case our suspicions are stronger from the ob- 
scurity which rests on other names of conquered nations 
found upon the monuments of these ancient Pharaohs ; hardly 
two or three of them, it is said, have been identified with cer- 
tainty. We must add, however, that Lepsius accepts without 
hesitation the views of Curtius upon this point : he has no 
doubt that the name in question refers to Ionian Greeks 
settled in Egypt, " so that, as early as the sixteenth and fif- 
teenth centuries, lonians — that is, at least a part, a considera- 
ble colony of that people — were dependent on the Egyptian 

We turn now from Oriental testimonies to inquire how far 
the known facts of Grecian histor}'' support the theory in ques- 
tion. Curtius asserts that in particular localities on the coast 
of Asia and the neighboring islands there are traces of Ionian 
occupancy before the time of the Ionian Migration. It is to 
be regretted that he has not drawn out more at length this 
part of his argument. As it is, the few brief indications which 
he gives hardly suffice to make a definite and satisfactory im- 
pression. Miletus and Ephesus, he says, were even in name 
nothing but renewals of older settlements : and the same fact 
is expressly attested in regard to Erythrae, Chios, and Samos. 
Admitting now the correctness of these traditionary notices, 
granting that the places mentioned were inhabited before the 
Ionian Migration, are we authorized to assume, what is not 
contained in the traditions, that these earlier occupants were 
lonians ? What more natural than to find that, among the 
numerous places settled by these colonists from Europe, some 
had been previously occupied by the natives of the country, 
who may have abandoned them before the time of the Ionian 
colonization ; or, in other instances, may have been dispos- 


sessed and driven out by the colonists themselves ; or, again, 
may have remained where they were, submitting to the new- 
comers and fusing with them into one community. 

Again, he urges that the worship of Apollo Didymaeus in 
his sanctuary near Miletus — a worship common to all the 
lonians — appears in tradition as older than the planting of the 
Ionian colony in Miletus. In like manner, the Delian sanc- 
tuary of Apollo was the Mother-sanctuary for all the stations 
of Apollo-worship in Greece, and must therefore have existed 
earlier than the Ionian Migration, though tradition very dis- 
tinctly represents the island of Delos as having at that time 
received its Greek population in place of the Carians, its 
earlier inhabitants. I would not say there is no force in the 
argument derived from these facts. Yet the question must be 
raised : granting, in accordance with the tradition, the primi- 
tive antiquity of these places as stations of Apollo-worship, 
how far may we infer, what is not expressed in the tradition, 
that the primitive worshippers were lonians ? Curtius him- 
self does not suppose that the worship of Apollo was confined 
to the Greeks : he will not venture to say that it originated 
with them ; he believes it to have been extensively diffused 
among the non-Hellenic tribes of western Asia. There is no 
strong improbability against the supposition that the lonians, 
instead of founding the establishments referred to, were only 
the successors of their founders. It is well known that the 
nations of antiquity regarded it as a point of great importance 
to keep up local rites of worship, even in conquered places. 
Curtius mentions that when the lonians -were driven out by 
the Achaeans from northern Peloponnesus, some of their 
families were retained in Helice, in order to continue there 
the former worship of Poseidon. And, apart from this gen- 
eral feeling, the lonians were little likely to neglect any old 
and celebrated sanctuary of Apollo, a divinity whom they 
honored with peculiar veneration. 

For further proof of primitive Ionian occupancy, we find 
our author referring to the city of lasus, situated on a small 
island near the coast of Caria. No tradition, he observes, 
was able to refer this Carian place to any settlerhent proceed- 
ing from the west ; and yet lasus, with its entire environment, 



was, in more than name alone, a genuine, primitive portion 
of Ionia. Now the Greek character of this place, and even 
its Ionian character, will be readily admitted. But we know 
not how to explain the statement that no tradition could refer 
it to a settlement proceeding from the west. For Polybius 
(xvi. ii), in a passage which we can imagine no reason for 
discrediting, tells us expressly that lasus, according to the 
assertion of its people, was settled by a colony of Argives, 
though, having afterwards lost a considerable portion of its 
citizens in a war with the Carians, it received a large rein- 
forcement from Miletus, headed by a son of Neileus, the 
Ionian founder of the latter city. lasus, then, appears in the 
same class with other Greek cities of Asia, which referred 
their origin to European Greece : there can be no reason why 
it should be distinguished from the rest, as furnishing clearer 
evidence of a primitive Ionian population in western Asia. 

Curtius argues from the immediate and great prosperity of 
the settlements established by the Ionian Migration that they 
could not have been planted among an alien people, on coasts 
before occupied only by barbarians. But the Greek cities of 
Sicily and Southern Italy were founded centuries later, in 
regions where the previous inhabitants were entirely and 
unquestionably barbarian : yet, notwithstanding this original 
disadvantage, such was their progress that, in the time of 
Xerxes, Hiero of Syracuse was the greatest power in the 
independent Grecian world, and perhaps a match for all others 
put together. And later, we find the Greeks of Sicily main- 
taining their ground, though with difficulty, in a long-con- 
tinued struggle against the Carthaginians, a power which 
proved almost an overmatch for Rome, when mistress of all 
Italy. Our author evidently feels that this parallel progress 
of the Italiot Greeks tells against his argument ; and, to 
weaken its force, asserts that the progress of the Asiatic 
lonians was different and more remarkable in three particu- 
lars : I . They established a confederacy of their cities. But 
the want of cooperation in the other case serves rather to 
increase the marvel. 2. They developed a civilization more 
purely Hellenic. This, however, may be accounted for by 
the fact, which probably all would admit, that the barbarians 


of western Asia Minor were much more like the Greeks than 
the barbarians of Southern Italy and Sicily ; so that the ex- 
traneous influences were more nearly Hellenic in the former 
case than in the latter. Nor does this general similarity of 
Carians, Lycians, Phrygians, etc. , to the Greeks require us to 
suppose that they had been in previous uninterrupted com- 
munication with Greeks on the same shores, as our author 
assumes. He maintains, in fact, that the two sections of the 
Greek people preserved their essential identity notwithstand- 
ing a separation for centuries by the waters of the vEgean. 
3. The lonians of Asia made higher attainments in art and 
literature. True : but would the colonists of Sicily have gone 
higher in these respects, if on their first landing they had found 
the island half peopled by their countrymen ? Their attain- 
ments, in fact, if inferior to those of the lonians, may compare 
with the attainments of Dorians and .^olians in Asia, though 
these latter, as Curtius supposes, had the advantage of settling 
among an old established population of their countrymen. 

The strong point of this theory is the fact of its affording 
an explanation for the peculiar position which the lonians 
appear to have had in early Greece. The argument may be 
stated thus. A people scattered far and wide along the sea- 
coast, and found in the interior only where they might have 
come by following a river-course back from the sea — such a 
people are not likely to have reached their seats by an over- 
land emigration. The lonians in Greece, then, must have 
come there by sea, and in all probability from the east ; im- 
mediately from the .^gean islands, remotely from Asia 
Minor. But it is not likely that a whole people settled on 
the Asiatic coast would float over the sea in this way. Their 
wide difiusion in Greece makes it probable that there were 
successive expeditions, with a considerable interval of time 
from first to last. As they were thus established in large 
numbers and for a long time on the coast of Asia, it is likely 
that a numerous people remained there, after the last expedi- 
tion set sail toward Greece ; enough to maintain themselves 
in that position until, after the lapse of centuries, they wel- 
comed back their returning brethren from the west. I will 
not stop to criticize the probabilities in this argument. But 


I must not close without observing that, whatever advantages 
the theory under consideration may giv^e us in explaining the 
early times of Greece, they are not gained without drawback : 
we encumber ourselves with some new and serious difficulties. 
One of these has been already alluded to ; the complete for- 
getfulness of Greek tradition as to the existence of these 
primitive lonians of Asia. If the tradition, as our author 
holds, has preserved some memory of their names and actions, 
it has at any rate forgotten that they were lonians. This is 
the more strange, as the national pride of lonians, living and 
flourishing in the same seats, might naturally have clung with 
more tenacity to the ancient renown of their ancestors. Why 
should they give up their own Cecrops and Danaus and Cad- 
mus to the Egyptians and Phoenicians ? Why should they 
remember so much about their early neighbors, and nothing 
about their early selves ? Why should they remember so 
much about Dardanians, Phrygians, Lycians, Carians in 
western Asia, and nothing about lonians there ? Or why 
should they remember so much about lonians in Attica and 
Peloponnesus, and nothing about that people in their own 
Asia Minor? Why should a people whose forefathers, born 
on the same soil, had run a career of wide-reaching activity 
and enterprise, forget its connection with those forefathers, 
and attach itself instead to the distant and less distinguished 
ancestors of a part only of its members ? Athens, according 
to this view, was the daughter of an Asiatic mother. So long 
as there were lonians in Asia, the Athenians must have looked 
to them as colonists to the inhabitants of the mother country, 
with feelings of respectful attachment, which were peculiarly 
strong in the ancient Greek mind. Why then should Athen- 
ians, returning to that mother country, forget the respect and 
attachment which they had before cherished ? why should 

► they forget their original connection with a country which 
had now become their own home ? If in everything else the 
tradition lost its hold upon these primitive lonians, we should 
expect that it would have retained them in connection with 

'the Ionian Migration. How could it carry these wanderers 
across the ^gean, without remembering the capital circum- 

t stance that they went, not to aliens or enemies, but to their 


own friends, countrymen, and kindred ? There is a singular 
unanimity in this forgetfulness. Among a large number of 
cities, scattered along a wide extent of sea-coast, we might 
have expected that some one at least would remember a fact 
so important in its early history. But there is no single ex- 
ception to the general obliviousness. It has a greater extent, 
indeed, than we have yet noticed ; the Cyclades share in it. 
If the view of Curtius be true, these islands must have received 
their Greek population from the East, from Asia Minor. But 
here again tradition is no less distinct and uniform in referring 
the beginnings of Greek occupancy to colonization from the 
West, from European Greece. 

I will only notice further some particulars in the early 
Epic literature which seem inconsistent with this theory. 
Almost all critics are agreed now in referring the Homeric 
poems to a date earlier than the year 800. They were com- 
posed, then, within two centuries from the Ionian Migration, 
perhaps not more than a century after that event. If we 
were to put the Ionian Migration at about 950, and the com^ 
position of the Iliad and Odyssey at about 850, these dates 
would perhaps correspond as nearly to the collective proba- 
bilities of the case as any that could be assigned. Now the 
remarkable absence of allusions to Ionia, its places and 
people, in the Iliad and Odyssey, which does not seem to be 
fully accounted for by the Achaean subjects and ^olian 
scenes of those poems, is naturally explained by the recent 
arrival of the lonians in that country. Their beginnings in 
Asia were still matters of historic recollection ; there was 
still a conscious newness about their places and their doings, 
which interposed a wide gulf between them and the ancient 
traditions of Achaeans and Dardans, But the theory of 
Curtius supplies an immemorial past for the lonians in Asia, 
and thus renders the phenomenon in question far more diffi- 
cult of explanation. Again, a people who had for centuries 
followed the Phcenicians in a career of maritime enterprise, 
competing with them and in many places supplanting them 
as traders, must have become familiar with the use of letters : 
and this, if true, would render still more unaccountable the 
fact, already sufficiently perplexing, that these two long 



poems, with their innumerable references to everything in 
the public and private life of the Homeric age, contain but 
one disputed an^ doubtful allusion to the art of writing. And 
once more, a people who had wandered for ages almost 
around the Mediterranean must have acquired a stock of 
geographical information more extensive and accurate than 
that represented in the poems of Homer. If, for instance, 
the lonians were conversant with the Delta of the Nile for 
several centuries, and as late as the time of Shishak, about 
950, how could the author of the Odyssey place the island of 
Pharos, which stood close to the Egyptian coast, a full day's 
sail away from it? And what shall we say of the '^ speciosa 
miracuia" which Horace admires, " Antipkaten, Scyllamque, 
et aim Cy elope Charybdm ? " How could such notions pre- 
vail among a people who had colonized western Sicily and 
western Italy as far up as the Tiber, and even the remoter 
island of Sardinia ? 

We are aware that the foregoing discussion does very im- 
perfect justice to a theory, the strength of which, in its 
author's own view, lies not in a few decisive arguments, but 
in the simple, natural connection which it gives to many 
scattered facts. We wish, also, to acknowledge, in the fullest 
manner, the ability and learning with which it is supported. 
We admit that it throws light upon important points in 
Greek antiquity. We cannot, however, help feeling that the 
case is not yet made out in its favor, and that it would be 
unsafe to accept it, until further discussion and the progress 
of knowledge shall have weakened the objections which now 
present themselves, and set the evidence for it in a clearer 
light. It is just to add, that this theory is propounded by 
its author with all becoming modesty. He recognizes the 
obscurities and perplexities which environ his subject, and 
declares that his object in publishing his views is to determine, 
from the discussion they call out, how far he can himself hold 
fast to them as established truth. His views may be imper- 
fectly supported by the evidence ; but they are not put 
forward with that offensive dogmatism which is perhaps 
nowhere more common than in fields like this, where hardly 
anything whatever can be known with certainty. 




The dissertation of Curtius on the Ionian Migration ap- 
peared in 1855. In 1856 came out the third and fourth vol- 
umes of Max Duncker's (Prof. Extr. at Halle) excellent 
Geschichte des Alterthums. The author, in a note to vol. iii., 
p. 242, alludes to the new theory, "that the lonians, prior 
to the Ionian Migration, occupied the coast of Anatolia, and 
setting out from thence, planted colonies in Greece, from 
which colonies at a much later period some noble families 
wandered back again to Asia Minor. The only sure way 
(he adds) of establishing this theory would be to show that 
ancient Oriental sources prove, in opposition to the Greek 
tradition, the settlement of the lonians on this coast prior to 
B. C. 1000. The proofs which Curtius endeavors to draw 
from the name of the lonians on monuments of Sethos and 
Ramses can convince no one who is aware of the fact that, 
among the names of nations whom the Pharaohs profess to 
have vanquished, hardly two or three have yet been made 
out with certainty. If the name Yavana occurs in the Laws 
of Manu and the Epos of the Hindus, this circumstance may 
probably be used to determine the age of those works, but not 
that of the Ionian settlements. The mention of Javan in the 
lists of Genesis, loth chapter, proves nothing against the 
Greek tradition, as the composition of that document falls into 
the lOth century, into the times after Solomon. The theory 
in question is further contradicted by the unanimous testi- 
mony of Greek authorities, Herodotus and Thucydides at the 
head, declaring that the inhabitants of the .^gean islands, be- 
fore the Greeks occupied them, were^jGarian or Phoenician. 
If the lonians had come from Asia Minor to Greece, they 
must have taken previous possession of these islands." This 
last argument is somewhat obscurely stated. It may be ex- 
pressed in this way. According to Curtius, the lonians, at 
an immemorial period, crossed the ^gean from Asia to 
Greece. But we cannot suppose them to have done this 


without occupying the ^Egean Islands which lay in their way. 
Those islands, then, must have been occupied from an imme- 
morial period by Greek inhabitants. But the universal opi- 
nion of the Greeks in the historical period was to the contrary 
of this — that those islands, down to a comparatively recent 
time, were occupied by barbarians, Carian and Phoenician. 

The essay of Curtius was reviewed in Jahn's yahrbucher, 
early in 1856, by J. Classen of Frankfort. The reviewer 
adopts in the main the views of his author, declaring that 
" he cannot escape from their internal evidence and their 
clearly-established connection," and avowing his belief that 
^' in them is found the key to one of the most difficult enigmas 
of ancient history." He specifies four particulars in the ar- 
gument of Curtius which have made the strongest impression 
on his own mind. i. There are no traditions which refer the 
lonians of Greece, like other Greek tribes, to any primitive 
home in the interior of the country ; while their earliest habi- 
tations in scattered localities along the sea-coast "show 
plainly that they are settlements of a sea-faring people, who 
never feel themselves at home except when they can breathe 
the air of the sea- coast." 2. On the coast of Asia Minor, 
from the Hermus to the Maeander, we find the lonians in a 
compact and united body, such as they show nowhere else ; 
so that, comparing their position here with that which they 
had in Greece, we cannot doubt that they were only colonists 
in Greece, but had their proper home in Asia. 3. The wide 
diftusion of the Ionian name at an early period among the 
nations of the East is only to be accounted for by assuming 
that this race was in closer proximity and more intimate 
intercourse with the Oriental nations than were the other 
Greek races. 4. This theory furnishes the only plausible ex- 
planation for the stories of Cecrops, Cadmus, and the rest, 
whom we cannot regard as wholly alien to the Greeks, but 
may well believe to have been men of Ionian descent, who 
came to Greece from settlements in the East, and were there- 
fore represented in the myths as Egyptians, Phoenicians, etc. 

But, while he adopts the theory of Curtius, Classen calls 
attention to some points in which his views are defective and 
unsatisfactory. He complains particularly of the vagueness 


of Curtius in reference to the connection between the Greeks 
and their neighbor-tribes in Asia Minor, the Dardaniahs, 
Phrygians, Lycians, and Carians. Curtius often speaks of 
these as if he regarded them as having a very close affinity 
with the Greeks in race and language, so as not to be really 
a foreign population, but to coalesce readily with Greeks 
whenever they are brought together, and to form with them 
a homogeneous union. And yet he does not expressly affirm 
that they have this character ; and indeed an affinity so close 
is not only inconsistent (in appearance, at least) with 
various indications, historical and philological, but, if it were 
true, would make the theory of Curtius unnecessary ; for the 
facts which he seeks to explain by his primitive lonians might 
then be explained by the agency of Phrygians, Lycians, etc. 

In regard to the Ionian name, Classen makes an ingenious 
suggestion, which has since been adopted by a number of 
inquirers, and even by Curtius himself. May it not be, he 
says, that the name lonians (whatever was its primitive mean- 
ing) was not at the outset applied to themselves by the Greek 
population of Asia, but applied to them by the nations of the 
Orient, and used as a collective designation, embracing the 
sea-coast tribes of Dardanians, Maeonians, Carians, and Ly- 
cians ? May not this name have been carried into European 
Greece by the Phoenicians, who everywhere preceded and 
served as pioneers for the wanderings of the Ionian tribes ? 
May it not have been received in Greece under a Grecized 
form, and applied to the wanderers from Asia Minor who 
settled on the Greek coasts and became fused with the earlier 
population ? And when the counter movement began from 
Greece to Asia Minor, may not the wanderers (or rather, a 
part of them) have carried with them the Ionian name, as a 
domestic designation, which became established on the coast 
between that of ^olian on the north and that of Dorian on 
the south, the application being determined by the fact that 
the leaders of emigration to these regions were Ionian, .^olian, 
and Dorian respectively ? 

Classen suggests, also, that the name Leleges may have 
been used from a very early period by the Greeks of Asia as 
a general designation for themselves — that is, for all who 


could speak their language, in opposition to the ^dp^apoi — 
that is, the collective tribes whose speech was unintelligible 
to them. This, too, is a very ingenious thought, and has 
since been reasserted by various other writers. 

The views of Curtius were discussed about the same time 
by a more distinguished scholar, G. F. Schomann, of Greifs- 
wald, in a paper entitled Animadversiones de lonibtis. Scho- 
mann is ready to admit that there were lonians in Asia Minor 
long before the Ionian Migration. But he objects strongly 
to the proposition that the lonians of Attica were derived 
from these Asiatic lonians by colonies crossing over to the 
western coasts of the ^gean and there establishing them- 
selves among a non-Ionian people. He sees no reason to 
believe that there ever was a non-Ionian people in Attica. 
And he sees no reason for supposing that the lonians came 
into Greece at a different time or in a different way from the 
other Greeks. If the lonians are found only on the sea-cocfst, 
the same may be said of their brethren in Asia ; and in both 
cases they may have been driven down by the pressure of 
other tribes from an earlier home in the interior to these 
^maritime abodes. He goes into a somewhat lengthened ex 
amination of the legends concerning Ion and his father 
Xuthus, to "show that they present no trace of a colonization 
from beyond the sea. This result, indeed, is of inferior im- 
portance, as he proceeds to prove that the legends in question 
are of no very high antiquity, but must have arisen after the 
great Dorian invasion and the new relations which this estab- 
lished in Central and Southern Greece. The derivation of 
the name Ion, from el/it, * to go,' which Curtius had spoken 
of with some favor, making the lonians to be ' wanderers ' 
in name as well as in fact, Schomann proves to be improbable 
on etymological grounds. In regard to Cecrops, Cadmus, 
and other leaders of colonies from the Oriental world, he 
avows that, if it be forbidden to consign them to the realm of 
fable, he would rather accept them for lonians than for Phoe- 
nicians and Egj'ptians. He remarks, however, that by the 
treatment of Curtius great vagueness is given to the designa- 
tion of " lonians," which comes to be like that of Franks in 
the modern Orient. So that when, in this theorj', a multi- 


tude of things are ascribed to the lonians — wanderings, set- 
tlements, estabhshment of rehgious worships and festivals, 
communications of the most various arts and industries — it 
becomes a question in each case to what lonians they are 
attributed. And though many things thus ascribed to the 
lonians are not improbable in themselves, he denies that they 
are more certain than what we believed before, and holds 
that such conjectures can avail nothing at all toward a more 
accurate knowledge of the Ionian race. 

To the objections of Schomann, Curtius rephed at once in 
the Gottinger Gelehrte Anzeigeft for 1856. I regret that I 
have been unable to obtain a sight both of this article and of 
another by the same author, which appeared in 1859 in the 
same periodical. In 1857, Curtius published the first volume 
of his elaborate and attractive- History of Greece. He here 
brings out in a popular form the views developed in his essay, 
and defended in his reply to Schomann. He does not, in-, 
deed, put them forward as ascertained historic truths, estab- 
lished by documentary evidence, and entitled to unquestioning 
assent. He speaks of them as an attempt to connect the 
Hellenic people with the Indo-European family of nations, 
and to make intelligible their wanderings in the earliest period. 
But he makes them the basis of his whole treatment of the 
primitive Greek history, and thus gives them a position which 
no hypothesis should receive unless it is pretty clearly re- 
quired by the known facts of history. His work being of a 
popular character, he naturally abstains from polemical dis- 
cussions. He does, however, vindicate his theory from the 
-objection that it is at variance with the tradition of the Greeks. 
To this he replies, first, that his view is not opposed to any 
positive statement of Greek tradition ; for in reference to the 
primitive diffusion of the Ionian race the ancients tell us 
nothing : they are simply silent on the subject. And, second, 
if his view is not attested by any positive statement of Greek 
tradition, it is easy to assign reasons for this fact. "The 
Greeks were so proud a people that they regarded their land 
as the central land, the point of departure for the important 
affinities of nations. And when, in Asia, the barbarians had 
pressed on to the borders of the Archipelago, it became, under 


Athenian influence, a general feeling that European Greece, 
still free and independent, was the proper land of the Hellenes. 
Athens itself v/as assumed to be the metropoHs of all lonians. 
Under this influence all opposing traditions were more and 
more thrust into the background, or with haughty boldness 
set aside altogether. Even of the Carians it was maintained 
that they had been driven to Asia from Europe, while, accord- 
ing to their own well-established belief, they were at home in 
Asia. The Lycians, in like manner, were supposed to have 
come from Attica to Lycia. Nay, the entire connection of 
the Greeks with the races of Asia Minor was completely re- 
versed, and the consciousness of an original affinity of the 
Greeks with the Phrygians and Armenians was so expressed 
that the Phrygians were represented as having migrated from 
Europe to Asia, and the iVrmenians, again, as having derived 
their origin from the Phrygians." 

This answer, it appears to me, gives undue weight to the 
Athenian influence, at least for the earlier times of Grecian 
history. The prominence of Athens in the political world of 
Greece dates from the Persian wars, long after the beginnings 
of literary production and documentary record. We have a 
multitude of notices, of a historical or traditionary character, 
which were composed in the sixth and seventh centuries before 
our era ; and some, doubtless, of even older date. But in 
those times the Greek cities of Asia were independent and 
prosperous. Miletus and Ephesus were then more splendid 
and powerful than Athens, and were not inferior to her in 
literary culture. Why should the Greeks of those cities sur- 
render the honorable consciousness of their own ancient sub- 
sistence on the same sites, and be content to trace the origin 
of their political being to a colonization, not then x&xy ancient, 
from a less powerful city on the other side of the ^gean ? In 
the literature of the sixth, seventh, and eighth centuries before 
Christ, we find many legends in regard to things that befell in 
Thebes and Argos and Sparta prior to the Ionian Migration. 
Why do we find none such for Ephesus and Miletus, which 
Curtius supposes to have had a long history as Greek cities 
prior to the same event ? It is certainly quite conceivable 
that cities should have existed on the sites of Miletus and 


Ephesus at the time when the colonists from Attica landed on 
the coast of Asia. But I see not how we could then account 
for the obliteration of all legends relating to earlier personages 
and fortunes of those cities, without supposing that their old 
population was viewed as an alien race, so that a wholly new 
order of things, a wholly new nationality for these cities, was 
regarded as commencing with the colonization from Attica, 

An appendix to vol. i. of Curtius's History contained re- 
marks by Lepsius in defence of his belief that the Ionian name 
is to be recognized on Egyptian monuments of the fifteenth 
and fourteenth centuries B.C., among the nations described 
as subject to the great Pharaohs of the i8th and 19th dynas- 
ties. There is no doubt that such monuments contain a group 
identical in form with that used for the lonians, or rather the 
Greeks, in the period of the Ptolemies. But De Rouge had, 
some years previous, proposed a different interpretation for 
the group as found on the earlier monuments. He noticed 
that it occurs generally in the first place among a list of given 
nations ; and the ideographic value of the signs composing 
it appeared to give the meaning 'the Northerners all,' i. e. 
* all the tribes of the North ; ' which would thus be a general 
designation for the eight tribes enumerated after it. This 
view appeared to be confirmed by the fact that in some in- 
stances the nine names are followed by another series begin- 
ning with Kesh {i. e. Cush) and containing apparently the 
names of southern tribes. It was supposed further that, after 
the Greeks or Macedonians became masters of Egypt, the 
group was held 1;o signify 'the northern lords,' and applied 
as a flattering designation to the now dominant people. 

Bunsen, in the last part of his Aegyptens Stelle in der Welt- 
geschichte, had taken up this view of De Rouge's, and main- 
tained it in opposition to that of Lepsius. In doing so, 
he was uninfluenced by any prepossession against the new 
Ionian theory ; for to this, in the same place and in the fullest 
terms, he signified his own adhesion. Lepsius, in the appen- 
dix referred to, brings forward objections to the interpretation 
of De Roug^ and Bunsen, and reiterates his clear conviction 
' that the group in question can only refer to the Greeks of 
the islands and coasts of the ^Egean. He thinks it probable, 


too, from the monumental evidence, that some of this people 
had formed permanent settlements in northern Egypt, on the 
Delta of the Nile. The force of his arguments can hardly be 
appreciated by any but professed Egyptologists ; and Curtius 
himself admits that, as matters now stand, the evidence from 
this source is not such as to demand the full confidence of 
scholars in general. 

Conrad Bursian, since known as a zealous student of Greek 
geography, published in 1857 a dissertation entitled Quces- 
tiouuin Etiboicarum Capita Selecta, in which he came for- 
ward as an adherent of the Ionian theory ; and not long 
afterwards, reviewing Duncker's History in Jahn's Jahrbucher, 
he censured that writer for his skepticism in reference to it. 
To the objection of Duncker, already noticed — that if the 
lonians at an immemorial period had crossed the .^geaii 
from Asia to Greece, they would at the same time have oc- 
cupied the islands on their way, whereas Greek tradition 
represents these islands as occupied down to a much later 
period by Phoenicians and Carians — he replies, that the lonians 
passed by these islands without taking possession, for the 
very reason that they found them already held by the Phoe- 
nicians. This answer is hardly in accordance v/ith the 
spirit of the theory, which makes a previous Phoenician oc- 
cupancy to be everywhere the condition and occasion of 
Ionian settlement ; and in fact, Curtius, in a subsequent 
article (which we shall notice further on), gives a different 
reply. The latter asserts, first, that the barbarians might be 
supposed, without improbability, to hav^e thrust themselves 
into these islands after they had been settled by the lonians ; 
second, that there is good reason for believing that these 
islands, long prior to the Ionian Migration, were not wholly 
in barbarian possession, but were occupied, at least in part, 
by a Greek population ; and third, that the Carians them- 
selves were closely akin to the Greeks, and perhaps origi- 
nally spoke Greek, but were afterwards barbarized — Semitized 
— by communication with the Phoenicians. 

The Ionian theory was further discussed, in 1857, by' Alfred 
von Gutschmid, in his Beitrage ziir Geschichte des alttn 
Orients. This work was an extended and far from favorable 


critique of the fourth and fifth volumes of Bunsen's Egypt. 
But, as Bunsen in his closing volume had taken up the Ionian 
theory, Gutschmid also was naturally led to take notice of it. 
His remarks are very interesting, though not free from a 
tone of dogmatism, and an asperity towards those from whom 
he differs, which appear too often in the writings of this 
learned and able scholar. He denies, as my own article had 
already done, that the great and rapid progress in wealth, 
power, and literary culture, made by the Ionian cities of Asia 
Minor after the colonization from Athens, is any proof that 
those colonies were not planted among an alien people. He 
brings forward many examples to show that such a progress, 
surpassing that of the mother country in the same time, is a 
frequent phenomenon in the history of colonizatign. He 
refers especially to North America, and the uncommonly 
rapid increase of population and the growth of new states 
which have been witnessed here. To the great argument of 
Curtius, founded on the position of the lonians in Greece, he 
replies as follows : 

" The assertion that the lonians in Greece nowhere appear 
in a compact mass is of a subjective nature. On both sides 
of the Isthmus, we find them in connected seats : in the South 
they form the population of all Achaia and the northern 
coast of Argolis ; in the North they have Attica, Southern 
Boeotia and the neighboring parts of Phocis, and Eubcea. 
What is most important — in this region, beside the towns on 
the coast, those of the interior also are Ionic, which is not 
the case in Asiatic Ionia. The fact which Curtius notices (p. 
4), that just here no trace is found of migrations made by 
the lonians from one habitation to another, might be regard- 
ed as an indication of their primitive settlement in this region. 
But if these seats appear to any one insufficient to be the home 
of so great a race, let him hold to the statement of Hero- 
dotus — a statement oftener evaded than really refuted — that 
the lonians were originally Pelasgians. Curtius himself has 
taken a step in this direction, by claiming for his lonians the 
names' Argos and Larissa, which have been universally re- 
garded as Pelasgian. True, he conceives the relation between 
the lonians and Pelasgians to be this, that the former came 



by sea in single parties, that they connected themselves with 
the native inhabitants, and especially the Pelasgians, and be- 
came gradually so lost in the general mass as to be no longer 
distinguishable from it. Still, tl#re is nothing to forbid our 
regarding the lonians as a name which at a more recent 
period separated itself from the Pelasgian. To show how far 
Curtius is warranted in his hypothesis concerning the home 
of the lonians, I will bring forward an analogy from a time 
of authentic history, in which we have the advantage of docu- 
mentary data. I refer to the Malays, who, as a people of 
coasts and islands, are well adapted to the comparison, and 
who have, in common with the lonians, not only a decided 
capacity for the sea, and a free restless nature, but also the 
fact that in the diffusion of Islam they have been the carriers 
of culture in the Indian Archipelago, just as the lonians were, 
according to Curtius, in the Greek Archipelago, by transport- 
ing the ancient civilization of the East. The Malays — the name 
is said to mean the same thing as that of the Parthians, viz. 
fieravdarai, ' emigrants ' — are spread over all the Indian islands, 
but only the smaller belong wholly to them ; the larger are 
occupied in their interior by primitive inhabitants, who are 
of the Ethiopian race. Whence the Malays came, nobody 
can say ; it appears inconceivable that one of the islands 
should have been their home. On the continent there is but 
one land where the Malays are found in large masses, the 
peninsula of Malacca, which has its name from them, as Ionia 
has from the lonians. Nowhere do the Malays form states to 
the same extent as here (precisely what Curtius insists on in 
reference to the Asiatic lonians). For here was the seat of 
the most powerful Malay kingdom, that of Singhapura, Ma- 
lacca, and Gohor ; here are still found numerous Malay states, 
while, ^.^. in Java, the most important of the Indian islands, 
the older states were founded by Brahman wanderers from 
Further India, and that of Bantam by Arab 'S ajy ids. If 
now we should apply the argument of Curtius to this case 
we must infer that Malacca was the primitive seat of the Ma- 
lays, and that from thence they occupied the coasts of the 
islands. But history teaches us that in the year 1160 A.D. 
the Malays, under their king ^ri Tribhuvana, first passed 


over from Sumatra to the mainland, and founded Singhapura ; 
that in 1253, under their fifth king, ^x\ Skandar, they founded 
Malacca ; that in 151 1, under their twelfth king. Sultan Mah- 
mud Sh^h, they found^id Gohor : while we have similar 
exact dates for the successive diffusion of the Malays on the 
peninsula. This example may teach us the necessity for 
caution, in cases where we have no authentic history to de- 
pend upon." 

In his celebrated essay on the Book of Nabathsean Agricul- 
ture {Ztschft. d. deiitschefi morgenl. Ges, vol. xv., 1861), Gut- 
schmid again found occasion to speak of the Ionian theory, 
which Chwolson had laid hold of to account for the amazing 
fact that a Babylonian author, twenty-five centuries before 
Christ, should combat the botanical opinions of Greek or 
Ionian writers. He does not here enter upon any formal dis- 
cussion of the theory. He only says : " Chwolson, as was to 
be expected, tries to make out of the universal lonians a 
little capital for his client Qufamt;" and then, after quoting 
a passage in which Chwolson thanks heaven "that the old 
naive chronology of primary schools, with its dates of 1697 for 
Phoroneus, 1 377 for Deucalion, etc. , has passed away forever," 
he adds : "The fact is just the other way, that the Asiatic and 
Egyptian wanderers Pelops, Danaus, Cecrops, Peteos, Erec- 
theus, whom one had thought to have passed away forever, 
have been dragged by Curtius out of the rubbish-hole, and 
turned to profitable account as Orientalized lonians or Ionized 
Orientals. The lofty air with which the author of the hypo- 
thesis warns off objectors, preferring this course to an at- 
tempt at refuting their objections, and the eagerness with 
which enthusiastic philologs in Jahn's Jahrbucher claim the 
admiration of their readers for E. Curtius's studies on the older 
Greek history, may certainly lead outsiders to suppose that 
they have here a made-out fact, to which only personal enmity 
refuses its due acknowledgment. But in truth, the very per- 
sons who are most competent to judge, historians and geo- 
graphers (I mention only Duncker, in his Greek History, 
and Kiepert, in his Researches on the Genealogical List of 
Nations in Genesis), have declared themselves very decidedly 
against the Ionian hypothesis, and this is pretty generally re- 



garded as a thing gone by. In reference to every hypothesis, 
the first question must be, not ' is it good,' but ' is it neces- 
sary ? ' ' is it on the whole tlie most satisfactory solution of 
existing difficulties ? ' " He then maintains that the only 
positive fact alleged in support of the theory (if fact it be) — 
the appearance of the Ionian name on the early Egj'ptian 
monuments — is not really explained by it, the occurrence of 
lonians in Egypt at that remote period being about equally 
marvellous whether you suppose them to have come there 
from the eastern or the western shores of the ^gean. 

Among " the enthusiastic philologs of Jahn's Jahrb'ucher" 
Gutschmid must have included August Baumeister, who in 1 86o 
reviewed the Greek History of E. Curtius, and spoke particularly 
of the Ionian theory in the warmest terms of commendation. 

The same question was treated, with greater thoroughness, 
in another work which appeared in i860 — a gymnasial pro- 
gram by H. Dondorfif, entitled the lonians in Euboea. 
Dondorft* agrees with Curtius in recognizing the existence of 
lonians (so called) in Asia, and their wide-spread activity as 
a seafaring people long prior to the Ionian Migration. But 
he does not therefore accept the theory of Curtius, against 
which he acknowledges the force of the objections raised by 
Duncker and Gutschmid. He holds that the early lonians 
of Asia and the ^gean were not the same people as the 
lonians of Attica : the latter were a Hellenic tribe, while the 
former, he thinks, were wholly or mainly Semitic barbarians, 
including Carians, Cypriots, and even Philistines. The con- 
nection^ between these and the lonians of Greece is nothing 
but a coincidence in name. 

This description of Dondorffs views I give, having never 
seen his dissertation, on the faith of Curtius himself, who re- 
viewed it in Jahn's Jahrbikher for 1861. The review, as might 
be expected, is mainly occupied with a vindication of the Ionian 
theory against the objections of dissenting critics. It is evi- 
dently prompted in part by the sarcastic remarks of Gut- 
schmid in the essay on the Nabathaean Agriculture, although 
that essay is nowhere mentioned. Curtius refers to his own 
former articles as proof that he has not shunned a discussion 
of the subject : he may have refused the challenge of an over- 


bearing and contemptuous polemic, but he has been always 
ready to meet candid and courteous opposition. He takes 
pains to show that his views have not failed to commend them- 
selves to a number of well qualified judges. " Leonhard 
Schmitz," he says, " even before the appearance of my His- 
tory, had made this view the basis of his own. I find my 
own view again fully set forth in Lorenz Diefenbach, Orig. 
Europ., p. 78, and if he has come to it independently (for he 
makes no mention of me), this is only the more welcome 
guaranty for the truth of my hypothesis. W. Vischer, in his 
Erinnerzmgcn mis GriecJicnland, p. 301, agrees with me en- 
tirely as to the Ionizing of Argos ; and more recently, in the 
SchweizeriscJies Museum, he expresses only a wish that the 
inferences drawn from the hypothesis might be kept within 
narrower limits." 

It is evident from this article of Curtius that three argu- 
ments which, as we have already seen, were used in the essay 
of 1855 to support his theory, are now no longer relied on for 
that purpose. These are : i. the wide diffusion of the Ionian 
name throughout the East as a designation for the Greeks ; 
2. the mention of lonians on the old Egyptian monuments of 
the fifteenth and fourteenth centuries ; and 3. the rapid pro- 
gress of the cities which the colonists from Attica, in the 
so-called Ionian Migration, were said to have planted on the 
coast of Asia Minor. These arguments, which were all 
objected to as unreliable in my previous communication on 
this subject, are now practically abandoned : it may be said 
that they are withdrawn, and no longer form part of the case. 
Curtius now rests his cause mainly on two points. These 
are: i. the position of the lonians in Greece, confined from 
the earliest time to certain scattered localities on the sea- 
coast : this he still maintains against the opposition of Scho- 
mann and Gutschmid ; 2. the traditions in reference to the 
colonists from Attica in the Ionian Migration : these he ex- 
amines in some detail, to show that they imply a close affinity 
between the new-comers in Asia and the previous inhabitants 
of the places where they settled. In this examination, I must 
think that he relies too much on the fullness and authenticity 
of the traditional accounts, and thus draws from them con- 
clusions which have no sufficient vouchers. 


As to the first point, which I have always regarded as the 
stronghold of the Ionian theory, its strength, it seems to me, 
is in a measure compromised by the new views which our 
author has taken up in reference to the Ionian name. I 
translate the highly interesting paragraph which relates to this 
subject. " As regards the history of the name lonians, I am 
quite ready," he says, " to adopt the same points of view as 
Dondorff, and to recognize in it a collective name, which 
gradually came to be restricted, and to assume a more definite 
application. That view was proposed by Classen, and de- 
fended with much penetration in this Journal, as far back as 
1856, and I have never ventured to maintain an opposite 
position. According to this view, we should have to assume 
some three principal epochs in the history of the name : i . 
the name Yavanim, as diffused among Aryans and Semites 
through the whole Eastern world, embraces all the seafaring 
tribes of the vEgean except the Phoenicians, including both 
pure Greeks and various tribes of mixed origin, Carians, 
Citians, Philistines, etc. It is a name which may correspond 
somewhat to that of the Leleges, an aggregate name, which 
does not, any more than that of Franks in the modern East, 
designate a whole connected by community of language, a 
definite etJinos. This name, first brought by the Phoenicians 
to the European Greeks, was adopted by the latter to desig- 
nate their kinsmen who were gradually settling on their sea- 
coast, whom they became acquainted with first as intermixed 
with Phoenicians, and afterwards in their purer nationality. 
Thus, 2. the foreign name Yavanim, adapted to the Greek 
mouth as 'Idove^ or "loove^, became established on the soil of 
Europe, and especially in Attica and yEgialeia. Here Ionian 
history first develops itself. Here, therefore, the name also 
first obtains a historical significance, which causes the prior 
existence of the people, their transmarine origin, to be wholly 
forgotten. Then follows the Trepaioio-K rSiv 'latvcav et? 'Acri'av 
(the Ionian Migration). And now, 3. the name fixes itself 
in Asia Minor, where the Carians, barbarized kinsmen of the 
Greeks, are overcome, the nobler germs existing among the 
Greeks who had remained in their primitive home on the 
Asiatic coasts are roused to new life, and a city-culture estab- 


lished, which, under influences from the Asiatics of the in- 
terior, soon takes such a direction that the Athenians dis- 
claimed the very name of lonians." 

Curtius is careful to mark these views as relating only to 
the name " Ionian : " yet it is plain that they are of no little 
importance with reference to his whole theory. On the one 
hand, they appear to weaken in some measure the founda- 
tions on which it rests. Evidently they destroy whatever 
residue of weight any one might recognize in the diffusion of 
the Ionian name through the Eastern world, and in the sup- 
posed mention of lonians on the ancient Egyptian monuments. 
But further than this : if it is admitted that the Ionian Greeks 
received that name in Greece itself, having previously been 
otherwise designated, then the confinement of that name to 
certain limited localities becomes a matter of less consequence, 
for it does not necessarily imply that the race was confined to 
the same localities : it is quite conceivable that the race itself 
may have had a much wider extension in Greece, and that 
only a particular part, which in some way came to be distin- 
guished from the rest, received the name of lonians. Yet, 
on the other hand, these new views give some aid to the 
theory. They help to account for the fact that no traditions 
represent the lonians in Greece as having come there either 
from the opposite coast of Asia or from the islands of the 
.^gean. They also help to account for the fact that no tra- 
ditions represent the Ionian emigrants from Attica to Asia as 
having settled there among a population whom they regarded 
as kinsmen and brethren. This last point I have alluded to 
before, and it is one which I look upon as of great conse- 
quence. It is not at all improbable that the Attic settlers in 
Ephesus and Miletus may have found in those regions a 
population not widely diverse from themselves in language 
and ethnical affinities. But there is no convincing reason to 
believe — there is much reason for declining to believe — that 
they found a population which they recognized as having the 
same nationality with themselves, as standing in a relation 
to themselves similar to that of the Achaeans, Dorians, or 
Cohans. There is no reason for supposing that the earlier 
inhabitants of the land were any nearer to the Greeks in origin 


and language than were the Pelasgians. Curtius, in his His- 
tory, describes the Pelasgians as an earlier wave of population 
which streamed over from Asia to Europe, just in advance 
of that which brought the Hellenes to their Grecian home. 
He describes them as distinct from the Greeks, yet closely 
resembling them, and readily coalescing with them. That a 
population of this kind, whether called Pelasgic or designated 
by other names — a population standing in this sort of relation 
to the Greeks — may have existed in Asia Minor long before 
the Ionian Migration, is certainly not improbable. That the 
Lycians and Phrygians stood thus near to the Greeks, I can- 
not believe. The language of the Lycian monuments is so 
far from resembling the Greek that some have doubted 
whether it was even Indo-European. As for the Phrygians, 
we have in Homer the proper names of Dardanians or Tro- 
jans, a people of the Phrygian stock. George Curtius has 
shown that many of these names imply a language different 
from the Greek. In regard to the Carians, though the 
Semitic origin often asserted for them is not sufficiently 
proved, we yet see, from the Homeric epithet, ^ap^apo^xovoi, 
applied to them, that their language was unintelligible to the 
Greek ear. But we hear of Pelasgians in Asia Minor, and 
yet more of Leleges, whom we may believe to have stood in 
a near relation to the Gfeeks. While, therefore, we hold it 
improbable that the colonists of the Ionian Migration found 
on the Asiatic coast any people whom they felt to be so near 
them as the lonians or even the Dorians and yEolians of their 
own land, we think it not indeed a historic certainty, but by 
no means improbable, that they found populations who 
seemed as near to them as the Pelasgians in Europe. And 
we think it still less a historic certainty, yet also not improba- 
ble, that these populations of the Asiatic coast may in earlier 
centuries have had communication with the western shores 
of the .^gean, and that the development of the Ionian 
character and name in Greece may be somehow connected 
with such communications. So much as this we should, 
according to our present lights, consider to be the net result 
of the discussions which have been set on foot by the disser- 
tation of E. Curtius. But it seems highly important that 


these conclusions should not be invested with more of cer- 
tainty than properly belongs to them — that they should be 
recognized as historic speculations rather than historic verities, 
as probabilities or possibilities rather than facts. 

Curtius insists that we must have some theory which shall 
enable us to comprehend the facts that lie on the threshold 
of Hellenic history. Such a theory he has labored to con- 
struct, and he claims the right to maintain it until a better 
one is offered him. It is unquestionably right that he should 
show his theory to be superior to any other which has been 
proposed : but it is quite conceivable that he should succeed 
in this without thereby proving it to be true. There are 
many problems in history, and especially in ancient history, 
of which the solution is more to be .desired than looked for ; 
many in which the deficiency or uncertainty of the data is 
such as almost to preclude the hope of a satisfactory solution. 
It may be that the problem which Curtius has discussed with 
so much ingenuity and learning, and with no less candor and 
courtesy, will have to be ranked in this category. 

II. ' 


1855. . 

THE Sanskrit language has a root prach, in very common 
use, signifying ' to ask a question.' This radical appears to 
have been preserved in all the great subdivisions of the Indo- 
European class. We find it in the GoXhic frah, * he asked,' 
A. S. fregnan, modern German /r^grw. Bopp, in his San- 
skrit Glossary s. v., gives a Lithuanian praszau, 'rogo, pre- 
cor,' and perszii, ' procus sum, uxorem mihi deposco : ' a 
Russian /r^^'w, ' rogo, precor : ' an \v\sh.Jiafrach, ' inquisitive,' 
which Bopp explains by a supposed reduplication — which, 
however, is more probably to be explained as a compound 
of the root with tjie old preposition Jia, ' before : ' so 'Jia- 
fraighe, ' question,' fiafruighim, 'I inquire, ask.' In Latin 
we find the verb precor, ' to pray,' and the noun procus, ' a 
suitor,' both certain derivatives of this root, Bopp also refers 
to it the verb posco, as if iox prosco, supposing that r is omitted, 
as in the Greek preposition ttoti for trpori. irpoTi or trpo'; is 
a derivative from Trpo : its p therefore is original, and the form 
TTOTi is a corruption, as also the corresponding Latin form poi^ 
which never indeed occurs as a separate word, but appears as 
a prefix in possideo {=pot-\-sedeo), porrigo {=pot-\-rego), and 
other compounds. Bopp further adds the Latin rogo, as if for 
progo, and the comparison is certainly plausible ; but I am 
not able to produce any fully satisfactory analogy for this 
assumed loss of the initial/ before a following r. 

As to the Sanskrit prach itself. Pott has explained it as a 
compound, made up of the prefix /r^z, 'before,' and the root 
ich, ' to desire,' which appears only in the special tenses (cor- 
responding to the Greek present and imperfect in the different 
modes). It is a curious fact that this compound of pra and 
ich does really occur in Greek, with a distinctness which ex- 


eludes all doubt as to its nature and origin. The Sanskrit/r^ 
is the Greek irpo, and the Greek equivalent of ich would natu- 
rally be VK, as the Sanskrit palatals are for the most part de- 
generate gutturals. Hence pra + ich — irpolic, which we find 
already in the Homeric 7r"potKr7]<i , ' a beggar.' See Odyssey 
xvii. 352, where Ulysses, appearing at the banquet of the 
suitors in the garb of a beggar, is thus addressed by the 
swineherd Eumseus, who brings him bread and meat from 
Telemachus : — 

Tri\epia')(Q<i rot, ^elv€, SiSot rdBe, Kai ae k€\,€V€c 
alri^eiv fiaka 7rdvTa<i i7rot)(Ofj,€vov pLViqaTrjpa'^ 
al8S) B'ovK dyad^v (f>r)a efifjuevat, dvSffi TrpoiKTr}. 

The corresponding verb 7rpotaao/xai, fut. irpot^ofiai, ' to beg,' 
is found in Archilochus, and in the compound KaruTrpoiaaofiat 
occurs with considerable frequency. We have likewise the 
noun TT/joi'f, Attic Trpol^, ' a free gift, gratuity ' (literally, ' ob- 
tained by begging, had for the asking'), the genitive of which, 
TrpoLKOfi, and the accusative, irpolKa, are used very commonly 
to signify ' as a free gift, gratis.' 

Now the Sanskrit /r^ai^/z is not by any means so clearly the 
compound of />ra and uk as is the Greek irpotK. According 
to the constant law of Sanskrit euphony, /r« + zV// ought to 
give us prech and not prach. There is therefore room to 
doubt whether the ioxm. pracJi is really a compound. At all 
events, if it be so, it has undergone such change as to assume 
the appearance of a simple root — it has completely lost the 
consciousness of its composition, has passed as an uncom- 
pounded radical through the whole class of Indo-European 
languages, and has received thus an extension far wider than 
the simple ich, from which it is perhaps derived. We have 
seen it already in the Latin, the Slavonic, the Lithuanian, the 
Teutonic, and the Celtic languages. Does it occur also in 
Greek ? Does this language furnish us, besides the distinct 
compound ■Of pra with ich, which we have been considering, 
with any representative for the more common and extensive 
prach, which is perhaps only the result of their fusion ? My 
belief is that it does so, in the noun ^eoTr/joTro?. This word 


occurs frequently in Homer, and signifies ' one who prophe- 
sies, a diviner or soothsayer.' In Herodotus we find a different 
meaning, that of ' a pubhc envoy sent to consult an oracle.' 
We might give examples of the word in both these uses ; but 
this is not necessary. I suppose it to be a compound of ^eo? 
with the root prach, and to signify, according to its etymol- 
ogy, ' one who asks a god or the gods.' 

This derivation explains perfectly the two meanings which 
we have just mentioned as belonging to the word. The pro- 
phet who pre-announces the events of the future does so, not 
of himself, not from his own stores of knowledge, but from in- 
formation which he seeks and obtains of a divinity — he pro- 
fesses himself and is understood by others to be 'a questioner 
of the gods.' And the propriety of the term is no less clear 
in its application to the public envoy sent to consult an 
oracle : it is his office * to interrogate the god.' 

This derivation is equally satisfactory as regards the form 
of the word. The Sanskrit palatals, as already intimated, 
correspond generally to gutturals in the cognate languages, 
and the interchange of gutturals and labials is one of the most 
familiar phonetic phenomena. No one could hesitate about 
accepting the Latin procns as a derivative of the Sanskrit 
prach, and there is as little difficulty in admitting a Greek TrpoTro? 
as the equivalent of the l^atin procus. A case exactly analo- 
gous may be found in the Sanskrit vac, ' to speak : ' from 
which root we have the Latin vox, vocis, vocare, and the 
Greek o^^ 6'ir6<i (originally Foirfi. fotto^, compare reiro'?^ 
F€LTreiv). The compound name KaWioTn}, ' beautifully speak- 
ing,' bears the same relation to the Latin vox and Sanskrit 
vac, that 6eoTrp6iro<i^ according to our view, bears to the Latin 
proctis and the Sanskrit /rrt^//. 

Let it not be thought strange that in irpotKrrj^, ' a beggar,' 
the Greek should retain the primitive k, and yet in irpoiro'i^ 
' an asker,' coming perhaps from the same ultimate theme, 
should change it to the labial tt. The language vacillates be- 
tween these sounds in one and the same word, as in the Ionic 
/C0409, K6(To<i^ Kore, /CW9, etc. , which present the primitive gut- 
tural, while the common Greek has 7rolo<;, ttoo-o^, Trore, ttw?, 
etc., with the labial. So in the root which signifies ' to see,* 


Sanskrit iksh, perhaps originally aksh^ from which come 
aksha and akshi, ' eye,' Latin dim. oculus, ocellus. In Greek 
the corresponding radical is ott, found moylrofiai, ' I shall see,' 
oTTooTra, ' I have seen,' 6(f)daK/ji,6<i, ' eye,' etc., and yei we find 
oWe, ' the two eyes,' which presupposes a form o/cie, while the 
Boeotian oKraWof, ' eye,' gives us the primitive guttural 
without change. 

The etymology here proposed has the advantage of account- 
ing perfectly for the accent of the word. It is a well-known rule 
for compounds of the second declension, such as iratSoKTovo^, 
in which the second part (/CToi/09) is a verbal of two syllables 
with short penult — that if this verbal has a transitive relation 
to the first part of the compound, the accent is on the penult ; 
thus, TratSoKTovo^, 'son-killing, murderer of a son;" but if 
the verbal is intransitive or passive in its relation to the other 
part, the accent goes back to the antepenult ; thus 
iraihoKTovo'i, 'son-killed, killed by a son.' According to this 
rule deoTrpoiro'i, derived from pracli and accented on the 
penult, could only have the sense of * questioning the gods 
(or a god) '• — a sense which, as we have seen, accounts per- 
fectly for the actual uses of the word. 

The arguments in favor of this derivation will gain addi- 
tional force, if we look at the other attempts which have been 
made to assign the etymology of the word. The old estab- 
lished traditional method makes the TrpoVo? a compound of 
Tvpo with the root of eVo?, elTrelv, as though irpoiro'; were for 
irpoFOTTO'^. As a transitive compound, this would signify 

* foretelling the gods,' which, of course, could hardly have an 
intelligible meaning. As an intransitive compound, it would 
signify ' foretold by the gods,' a meaning intelligible enough, 
but wholly inapplicable here. To account for its actual use, 
we should have to render it ' foretelling /r^w the gods,' /. e, 

* by communications derived from them,' or ' foretelling by 
the gods,' /. e. ' by their counsel or assistance.' Now there 
is some latitude in regard to the relations expressed by com- 
pound words, and it is not unlikely that instances might be 
found which would go to support the rendering just given. 
Still, they are inconsistent with the general analogy which 
prevails in the composition of words, and ought not, of course, 


to be adopted without clear and convincing evidence. But 
the form of the word suppHes an insuperable objection to 
this etymology. The primitive form, as we have seen, would 
have been irpoFOiros. To make irpoTro'i out of this, we must 
suppose that the weak letter f fell away, and that the o of the 
preposition was then elided before the o of the root. Now 
there are two circumstances which render this elision in the 
highest degree improbable : i . that in other compounds of 
this root the Homeric language holds on with marked tenacity 
to the F, allowing no elision to take place before it : so in the 
compound with utto, which occurs very frequently, but al- 
ways as aTToetTreiVj never as airecTrelv : so in dfiapToeiri]^, not 
dfiapT€Trrj<; ; a/xerpoeTT*)?, not afierpeTrijii ; — and, 2. that even 
before words which began with an original vowel, the prepo- 
sition Trpo always retains its o, suffering it indeed to be con- 
tracted with the following vowel, but never surrendering it 
altogether : thus (fypovpo^, ' a guard,' from irpo and opda, not 
<^pop6<;. So strong are these reasons that, since Buttmann in 
his Lexilogus declared himself against this derivation, it has 
been generally abandoned : and it is matter of surprise that 
Benfey in his Wtirzellcxikon should not only have retained 
it, but retained it without the slightest expression of doubt, 
without intimating that it either had been or could be called 
in question. 

Buttmann himself proposed to take the word from ^€09 and 
TTpeira). This etymology would account well for the form, 
which would thus correspond (for instance) to 6eo\6yo<; from 
^609 and \iyco. How is it as regards the meaning ? In its 
Homeric use, irpeira) signifies ' to be prominent or conspicu- 
ous, to appear.' It is said of things that strike the eye, and 
by later poets is occasionally applied to objects that impress 
other senses — the hearing or even the smelling. From this 
idea of 'appearing,' the word came to mean, i. ' to appear 
as something, be like it;' 2. 'to appear well, be seemly or be- 
coming ' — which in later writers is by far the most frequent 
use of the word. But neither of these uses is to be found in 
Homer : and, of course, neither of them can well be relied 
upon for the explanation of deo'Trp6'iro<i. For this purpose, we 
must go back to the first meaning, * to be conspicuous, to ap- 


pear.' But this meaning is intransitive, and hence unsuited 
to the accent of QeoTvpoiro'i, which, as we have seen, indicates 
a transitive compound. Buttmann indeed suggests that 
irpkirui may have been originally transitive, ' to make con- 
spicuous, to make appear, to show,' and he finds an instance 
of this earlier use preserved in a line of Euripides (Alcestis, 
5i5> '^i' XP^ll^^ '^y^^ '^V '<^ovpa irpe'wei'i) ; but his explanation of 
the line, as President Woolsey has remarked in his note on 
the passage, is not only inconsistent with the settled usage 
of the tragic poets, but at variance even with the immediate 
context. It must, however, be admitted as a thing alto- 
gether possible, that a word which in its separate use is 
constantly intransitive may appear as transitive in a com- 
pound. This, if we assume it in the present case, would 
give us for 6€07rp6iro<i the meaning ' one who makes a god ap- 
pear, manifests or reveals a god.' Such a designation for the 
diviner, though certainly quite conceivable, would belong 
rather to the style of rhetorical description than to the simpler 
and more obvious views of ordinary etymology. He is a re- 
vealer of the will, purpose, or knowledge of the divinity ; but 
to call him ' a revealer of the divinity, one who makes the god 
appear to men,' seems unnatural and oyerstrained. Nor does 
Buttmann himself appear to have understood the origin of 
the term in this way. After explaining the primitive use of 
irpeiray, according to his view of it, as meaning to ' make a 
thing appear, show it,' he goes on to say that " probably the 
old expression was ^609 Trpeiret, ' a god sends a sign ' (causes an 
appearance) — the sign sent was called deoirpoinov and the in- 
terpreter of it OeonrpoTTO'i." In this explanation, it would seem, 
he takes deoirpoTnov, the neuter noun, directly from 0e6^ and 
Tr/jeVa), with the meaning 'that which a God shews,' 'the sign 
or omen' (a meaning, by the way, which the word appears 
not to have in actual use) ; and then, from this deoTrpoTrtov, 
derives the masculine OeoirpoiTo^, as if it were ' one who deals 
in deoTTpoiria.' It is hardly necessary to say that such a pro- 
cedure is wholly inadmissible, being in fact the reverse of the 
real one : deoirpoinov, instead of coming before OeoirpoiTo^, 
must be formed from it, so as to mean ' that which belongs to 
a OeoTTpoTTOf, his utterance or oracle.' Compare fiavrelov 


{fiaimfjlov), formed from fiavrev^, ' a prophet,' with the mean- 
ing 'prophecy or oracle.' 

It is hardly worth while even to mention a third explana- 
tion of the word, according to which it would mean ' one who 
speaks things BeM Trpiirovra, ' fitting for a god.' 

It is certainly a curious fact that a root so widely extended 
in the cognate languages, and so fully represented in the 
Latin, should be confined in Greek to a single compound, a 
compound evidently formed after the language had assumed 
its distinctive character, and yet one which may be referred 
with probability to the earliest period of the language, and 
which even in the classic time of Athenian literature had be- 
come an antique expression. Perhaps the accidental coinci- 
dence of sound between TrpeTro), 'to ask,' and Trpeiroi, 'to ap- 
pear,' may have had something to do with the early disap- 
pearance of the former. At all events, we have a somewhat 
similar phenomenon in the Celtic languages. The Irish re- 
tains the root, but only in composition with a proper Irish 
prefix — a compound, therefore, which must have been formed 
after the language had assumed its distinctive character. 
From the Welsh it seems to have disappeared altogether. 




IT is well known that some eminent grammarians have re- 
garded the Greek genitive as primarily a froni-csiSQ, and 
have therefore sought to explain its various uses as being all of 
them at bottom /r^;/z-relations. Thus Kiihner, in his largest 
Greek Grammar {ansfuhrlicJie Grammatik der griecJiisclien 
Sprache), commencing the discussion of this case, says : "The 
Genitive expresses, i. in local relation, the proceeding /rt^w 
an object, or removal and separation from it, inasmuch as it 
assigns the object or the point /ir^?^ which goes out the action 
of the verb : '^^d^eaOat KeXevOov, ' to retire from the way ; ' 
2. in causal relation, the cause, origin, author, in general the 
object which calls forth the action of the verb, produces it 
{gignit, hence the significant name genitivus),* excites it, 
occasions it : iindvixSi r'fj<i apeTfjf;, ' I have a desire for virtue 
(a desire awakened by virtue).' As both in the local and the 
causal relation the direction whence lies at the basis, the geni- 
tive may be named also .the whe7tce-C2ise." Thus Kiihner, 
who, in accordance with this exordium, proceeds to develop 
the uses of the case as follows : (I beg leave to present a 
brief outline of his development, and to solicit attention to it, 
though the detail, I am afraid, may appear a little tedious) 
A. In Local relation, with words which express more or 
less distinctly the ideas of separation and removal : to these 
Kiihner adds verbs of beginning, but with questionable pro- 
priety ; vnrdpxeiv dBiK&v epyoov is not ' to begin from unjust 
actions,* as a starting-point, but rather ' to make a beginning 

* Kiihner perhaps means only that the term genitive is capable of tearing this 
significance : not that those who first used it understood it thus. With them the 
nominative case (^ ouonaa-riKri) was the one used to name a person ; the genitive 
{jl yeviKi]), the one used to express his yivos, 'family connection, origin, or 
descent : ' thus 'AAefwS/jos b ^ihiirwov, 'Alexander the son of Philip.' 


of, in unjust actions ; ' the special relation here would seem 
to be partitive more than separative. Then B. In CAUSAL 
relation, which is drawn out to much greater length than the 
local, and is arranged under three principal heads, according 
as the cause is conceived to be an efficient, an occasioning, or 
di cofiditiojiing c2iVi^Q. Under efficient cayxso. comes, i. Geni- 
tive o{ origiyi and author ; 2. Genitive o{ possessor — the owner 
being regarded as in a manner producing what he posses- 
ses, making his money, making his property, as we phrase it ; 
certainly, making it his own ; 3. Genitive of the whole or 
genitive partitive — the whole being conceived as in a sense 
giving rise to its parts, producing them from itself; 4. Geni- 
tive of place (where) and time (when) — the action being re- 
garded as evolved from and by the place and time of its 
occurrence; 5- Genitive oi material — either the material 
which makes, composes something, as a house of stone ; or 
the material which makes a fullness of something, as full of 
corn : i. e. genitive of plenty. Under this head Kiihner puts 
constructions such as eaOUiv Kpewv, 'to eat of flesh-meat,' as 
if the meat were the material which makes the eating (where 
Prof. Crosby, with better reason, recognizes a partitive rela- 
tion) ; also ciKoveiv dopv^ov, ' to hear a noise,' as if the noise 
were the material of the sensation (which again is explained 
differently, and, as it seems to me, better by Prof. Crosby) : 
Tov KCLatyvTjTov Ti(f>^^ ; ' what say you of your brother ? ' (where, 
however, the genitive seems really to depend upon the pro- 
noun — ' what report, what account of your brother do you 
give ?') etc., etc. So much for the efficient cause. Next the 
occasioning cause: this occurs, i. with words of emotion : 
ifiwv ifjLTTd^€o fivOwv, ' be heedful of my sayings ' — the sayings 
themselves are to serve as a cause, an occasion for heedful- 
ness ; 2. with words of punishment, accusation, condemnation 
— these being consequences occasioned by the crimes to which 
they relate; 3. in some other connections, among which we 
find o)9 TToScov ei)(pv, '(as they were in respect of feet, /. e.) ac- 
cording to their swiftness of foot,' the feet being looked upon 
as occasioning the state of swiftness, more or less, which they 
happen to be in. Third and last, the conditioning cause. 
This is used especially for expressing mutual relations, the 


existence of the relation on the one side being a necessary 
condition to its existence on the other. Thus, i. Genitive of 
superiority and inferiority : TLcraa<f:>epvT]<; ap')(et twv iroXecov, 
* Tissaphernes governs, the cities' — to a governor subjects are 
an indispensable condition; 2. Genitive wit/i comparatives: 
fiei^cov Tov aSeX^ov, ' greater than his brother ' — to any greater 
a something less is an indispensable condition. This, how- 
ever, Prof. Crosby explains more probably as a genitive of 
distinction, i. e. greater (in distinction) from his brother ; 
3. Genitive oi price, value, merit — the price of a commodity 
being the condition of its sale ; 4. Genitive luitJi substantives, 
to express almost any mutual relation : ^CXLinro'i 6 irarrjp 
' Ake^dvBpov, ' Philip the father of Alexander ' — Alexander here 
is the conditioning cause of Philip's paternity. 

Such is Kiihner's theory of the Greek genitive. Our dis- 
tinguished countryman and associate. Prof. Crosby, adopts 
the same leading view, but develops it in his own way, with 
characteristic ingenuity and elegance, with much more sim- 
plicity and naturalness than the German grammarian — with 
all the simplicity and naturalness, I believe, which the neces- 
sities of his theory admit of — without the Beckerite tendency, 
too frequently apparent in Klihner, to impose a meaning on 
language rather than educe the meaning out of it. 

I propose to offer some remarks on this theory of the Greek 
genitive, which regards it as always afrom-case, and finds in 
the idea of departure or derivation its primary and pervading 
significance. That the Greek genitive is a from-case, in fre- 
quent use as such, is conceded at the outset : the question 
will be, whether this was its primitive and universal character. 
This question might be discussed from the standpoint of 
philosophy — if philosophy has any point that stands ; float- 
point would perhaps be the more proper word. I propose, 
however, to treat it as a question of history ; to inquire 
whether in point of fact the uses of the case had the genesis 
ascribed to them. It is only the possibility of treating it thus 
in a historical way that makes it proper for me to bring it be- 
fore the notice of the Oriental Society : it is the historical 
aspect of the subject that looks toward the Orient. 

The Greek language, as all know, has not preserved the com- 


plete case-system of the Indo-European class. In this respect 
it is inferior to the Latin, which, in addition to the five cases 
of the Greek, has an ablative, and, to some extent, a locative: 
while the Latin is inferior to the Zend and Sanskrit, which 
have a locative throughout, and besides that an eighth case, 
the instrumental . It will be observed that this full system of 
cases includes both 2. genitive and an ablative ; and that these 
are clearly distinguished from each other both in form and 
meaning. The ablative singular in Sanskrit is made by adding 
t ox d to the stem : the rules of euphony in reference to final 
consonants are such in that language as to leave it uncertain 
whether the proper affix was / or d. But a comparison of 
the Zend makes it probable that the original form was /. In 
Latin the ablative singular ended in d. This ending, it is 
true, does not appear in the classical Latin : but in the oldest 
monuments of the language, such as the inscriptions of the 
Coliimna rostrata (260 B. C), and the Scnatus-Cotisiiltum de 
Bacchanalibus (186 B. C), it is found as the regular and con- 
stant ending : thus we find prceda-d, senatu-d as ablatives of 
prceda, senatiis ; in altod vtarid=in alto mari ; prcescnted, 
dictatored, from pmsens, dictator. The Oscan inscriptions 
show the same ending d through all the declensions : e. g. 
dolud inallud, corresponding to Old Latin dolod malod, later 
Latin dolo mala, 'with evil art, fraud.' The ablative plural 
in all these languages coincides with the dative plural, and 
has in all of them substantially the same ending : in Sanskrit 
bhyas, Zend byo (with 6 for as by a regular euphonic law), 
Latin bus. If now we look at the meaning of the case thus 
formed, we find it to be, what the name we give it imports, 
a/ri7;«-case. It is appropriately used in expressing removal, 
separation, or distinction. It is used in a transferred of 
metaphorical sense to express cause — not cause in the all-com- 
prehending extension given to that idea by the theory just 
described — but cause that is cause (if I maybe allowed the 
expression), in which the character of origin, procession, 
derivation, is obvious and palpable. As it may thus express 
not only the producing cause, but also the means, it en- 
croaches on the borders of the instrumental : in Latin, in- 
deed, which has lost the instrumental form, the whole domain 



of that case has been seized upon and appropriated by the 
ablative. . Still further, the Latin ablative covers in a great 
measure the ground of the original locative, and is thus much 
broader in its extension, and more various in its character, 
than the corresponding case in Zend and Sanskrit. Still it 
remains the fact, that in all these languages the ablative is the, the proper case for expressing a. from, whether 
literally in space-relation, or metaphorically in those relations 
which most distinctly and unequivocally imply ay>'(?;«-idea. 

From the endings of the ablative, as just given, those of the 
genitive are widely different. The Sanskrit genitive singular 
adds s to the stem, often with a connecting-vowel a, making 
as, Zend 6, Greek 09, Latin is. But to stems in short a the 
Sanskrit z.^^ssya: thus vrikd, ' wolf,' Nom. vrika-s, Gen. vrika- 
sya. To this corresponds the Homeric genitive Xu/co*to (for 
\vKo-cn6) in which the a is dropped ; in the common form i is 
also dropped and the two o's contracted : \vko-o, Xukov. In 
Latin the Jus oi Jui-jiis, cufiis, e-Jus, perhaps corresponds to 
the same ending sya. In the genitive plural, the Sanskrit has 
dm, Greek wv, Latin tim. Some of the pronouns in Sanskrit 
have sdm instead oidm; thus from ka, interrogative, come Gen. 
Plur. ke-sJidm, fem. kd-sdm. These reappear in Latin, with 
the usual change of 5 to r, as qiio-rinn, qiid-r?im. The Latin 
even extends this formation (in ricm) to all words of the first, 
second, and fifth declensions. The genitive is the only case of 
the eight which remains to us in English (leaving out of view 
the pronouns) ; and it is not at all unlikely that the meaning 
indicated by our common name for it, the posscssh>e , was in 
fact the primitive meaning of the form. If, however, we look 
at the general range of its use in the languages that have it, 
we may describe it as the case of appurtenance , which means 
belonging to something, pertaining to it. Its most frequent 
use, and by far the most important, is with substantives, to 
mark one thing as in some way belonging to, or connected 
with another. When used with verbs, it represents the action 
of the verb as belonging to or connected with the object, 
rather than as falling directly upon it : as, in English, I know 
of the man differs from I know the matt. 

Now in these simple facts we have the materials for an 


argument, the grounds for a probable conclusion. The San- 
skrit, Greek, and Latin have a case common to all the three, 
formed by all in the same way, by the same additions to the 
stem, and employed by all in the same way (as regards its 
leading use), i. e. as a case of appJirtenance. The Sanskrit 
and Latin have another case, common to both, formed alike in 
both, and employed ahke in both (as regards its leading use), 
/. e. as a case of departure, a/r^w-case. This latter case is want- 
ing in Greek, its meaning being expressed by the one before 
described. What is the natural inference ? Is it not, that the 
primary use of the genitive in Greek is that which belongs to 
the same form in the other languages, and that its ablative 
use has been superadded to this, through the loss or aban- 
donment of a proper ablative form ? If so, then, instead of 
explaining those uses of the Greek genitive in which it coin- 
cides with the Sanskrit and Latin by its ablative use, we 
ought rather to reverse the process, to show how the abla- 
tive use can be explained from that of the proper genitive. 

The only way, perhaps, of escaping from this conclusion, 
would be to set up a hypothesis of extremely hypothetical 
character, something like the following : * ' That the ablative 
form as distinct from the genitive is a later thing in the his- 
tory of the Indo-European languages ; that the primitive stock 
had but one form, the genitive ; that this form was used 
originally in the meaning of an ablative, but in process of 
time developed from that a great variety of uses, such as we 
find in the Greek genitive ; that afterwards, for the sake of 
distinctness or for some other reason, a new form was in- 
vented, an ablative form ; and that a portion of the uses of 
the genitive, in fact its most original uses, were set off to 
this new ablative case." 

It is hardly necessary to point out the assumptions involved 
in this hypothesis. If the ablative form is of later origin 
than the genitive, it does not follow that its meaning was 
before expressed by the genitive. If before the invention of 
an ablative form its meaning was expressed by the genitive, 
it does not follow, nor is there evidence to prove, that this 
ablative meaning was the primitive use of the genitive, out 
of which all its other uses were developed. But it is far from 


certain that the ablative form is actually more recent than 
the genitive. It is true that the ablative singular in ^ or ^ 
does not occur, so far as we know, in the languages of Europe, 
with the exception of the Latin and its Italican kindred. 
But the non-appearance of a case-form in particular languages 
does not prove that they never had it. Our vernacular has 
in nouns but one inflected case, the genitive ; but our~ances- 
tors a thousand years ago had a nominative, dative, accusa- 
tive, and vocative. In pronouns they had the trace of an in- 
strumental. Could we make out the Teutonic as it was a 
thousand years earlier, we might perhaps find a complete in- 
strumental form, with an ablative and a locative, the perfect 
apparatus of Indo-European noun-inflection. The ending of 
the dative and ablative plural (Sanskrit bhyas, Latin bus) 
lingers still on the extreme western verge of Indo-European- 
ism, in the Irish bh. The case which has this ending is used 
in the Irish as a dative plural : that it was once used as an 
ablative is not unlikely, though we have no certain proof of 
the fact, since the/>'<?;/«-relation is always expressed by means 
of prepositions ; and though these prepositions are regularly 
followed by the form in bh, yet nothing positive can be in- 
ferred from that, as other prepositions show the same con- 
struction. It must be confessed, however, that this discus- 
sion is somewhat irrelevant, with reference to our present ob- 
ject. For that, it matters little whether the genitive was or 
was not earlier in its origin than the ablative. Whether or 
not any members of the Indo-European family broke off from 
the common stock, carrying with them a genitive, before the 
ablative form had made its appearance, is of little conse- 
quence to us in this inquiry. For the Greeks, it is quite cer- 
tain, did nothing of the kind. On that point the Latin abla- 
tive is an unequivocal and unimpeachable witness. The 
Italican languages may have assumed a distinct existence 
about the same time with the Greek : that they are not of 
later origin than the Greek, will be admitted on all hands. 
As they have a genitive and ablative completely distinct from 
each other, we are forced to believe that the distinction of 
these two cases in form and meaning existed in the common 
language before the separation of the Greek, and was not the 


result of any later development. It follows that the Greeks 
must have given up an existing and established ablative form, 
transferring its functions to the genitive. Why they did so, 
it may not be possible for us to ascertain. We should find 
it equally difficult to show why they gave up the instru- 
mental form, which is found in the Slavonic, the Lithuanian, 
and to some extent even in the Teutonic idioms ; or why 
they gave up the dative form, which is almost as widely re- 
tained among the languages of Europe as the genitive, while 
they transferred its functions to the locative. It is important, 
however, to observe, in regard to the ablative, that the San- 
skrit, even in its earlier Vedic form, shows us to some extent 
the same condition which we find in Greek. The ablative 
singular in /, already described, belongs to only one class of 
Sanskrit nouns, though a most numerous and important 
class — words which have stems in short a, corresponding to 
the Greek and Latin substantives and adjectives of the second 
declension. For all other nouns in Sanskrit, the form of the 
genitive singular is used also as an ablative, precisely as in 
Greek ; though in the other numbers the Sanskrit invariably 
distinguishes the two cases. The Greek, then,, only carries 
out consistently, through all words and all numbers, a ten- 
dency which the Sanskrit shows in most classes of words in 
the singular number. Bopp conjectures that tlie use of the 
genitive for the ablative in Sanskrit rests upon a merely 
phonetic interchange of consonant-sounds ; he supposes 
that naus, ' ship' (for instance), stem rtdu or ndv, made origi- 
nally an ablative ndv-at, and that this by a sibilation of the / 
became ndv-as, like the genitive. Now the assumed muta- 
tion of / to J is perhaps hardly borne out for the Sanskrit by 
the euphonic analogies of that language. But for the Greek 
there is no difficulty in such an assumption ; the euphonid 
law of the language proscribes the final t ; and as we have 
irpo'i for irpoTL or irpor, and XeXvKO'i for XeXvKOT, Gen. XeXvKor- 
o?, so we might have vdo<;, vapo^ for an earlier vapor. The 
identity thus arising between the genitive and ablative forms 
in most singular words would naturally contribute much to 
bring about a universal substitution of the one case for the 
other.. According to a plausible conjecture of Bopp's, the 


same change of r to <? has occurred even in adjectives of the 
second declension, producing the adverbs in w? (for wr) ; thus 
KaKw<i^ ' badly,' would be for kukcot, an original ablative of 
KaK6<i, ' bad,' though used in an instrumental rather than a 
proper ablative meaning : compare Sanskrit papa, ' evil,' 
Nom. papas, Abl. papat, ' from evil, by evil means, in evil 

I think it must be evident, from these considerations, that 
there is no historical reason for regarding those uses of the 
Greek genitive in which it coincides with the common use of 
that case through the other Indo-European languages as 
arising from the idea of the ablative ; but, on the contrary, 
that there are historical probabilities of considerable force 
against such a supposition. In the view of comparative 
philology, the theory of Kuhner, who deduces the idea of 
appurtenance from that of departure, is less warranted than 
Madvig's, who takes the idea of appurtenance as the proper 
meaning of the case, and deduces from that the idea of de- 
parture ; since departure (he says), removal, separation, im- 
ply a previous connection or appurtenance. Thus the first 
idea of the genitive would be * in connection with ; ' the second 
idea, 'out of connection with.' Why the genitive should not 
equally have come to mean ' into connection with,' it might be 
hard to explain. In fact, this view of Madvig's seems 
scarcely tenable, and he himself does not insist upon it, or 
attempt to give it that completeness of development which 
Kuhner and Crosby have given to the opposite view. The 
truth appears to be, that the Greek genitive combines in 
itself the functions of two cases originally distinct, functions 
associated in Greek not so much from any perceived internal 
connection between them, as from accidents affecting the 
outward forms of inflection. The Greek language itself fur- 
nishes another and more striking instance of this accumula- 
tion of offices, originally distinct, in one form. The Greek 
dative, it is well known, both in singular and plural, has the 
form of a locative case, denoting the place where or in which ; 
but, as actually used, it combines, with the meaning of a 
locative, those of the dative and the instrumental. These, in 
the full system of the Indo-European languages, make three 


distinct cases. In this instance, Prof. Crosby, guided by his 
finer appreciation for language, has recognized the diversities 
of meaning as fundamental, and abstained from any attempt 
to connect the locative and instrumental uses with the proper 
dative. Kiihner, on the other hand, whether that his sensi- 
bility to language was less delicate from the first, or because 
it was blunted by his Beckerite philosophy, or for both rea- 
sons together, has been less abstinent ; he makes no scruple 
to identify all these uses. The fundamental use of the case 
(he says) is the locative, to express the where : from this 
comes, on the one hand, the proper dative, the whither, and 
on the other, the instrumental, the whence. With equal pro- 
priety, as the genitive and dative have but one form in the 
Greek dual, he might for that number derive all the uses of 
the genitive also from what he recognizes as the fundamental 
idea of the dative. This could give him no difficulty : for 
as the locative where of that case* has developed an instru- 
mental whence, and as all the relations of the genitive are in 
his view wheiice-xt\.2.\\ox\'S>, they could easily be connected with 
the instrumental dative. To a grammarian whose where )yy 
natural evolution develops a whither afki a whence — that is, 
gives at once all possible space-relations — it cannot be difficult 
from any given relation to derive all other possible relations. 
If the genitive were not only a genitive and ablative, as it is 
in the Greek singular and plural, and to a great extent in the 
Sanskrit singular, but a genitive and locative, as it is in the 
Sanskrit dual, or a genitive, locative, dative, instrumental and 
ablative, as it is in the Greek dual — and even if to all these it 
superadded the offices of nominative and accusative — such 
modes of explanation would be quite sufficient to demonstrate 
the fundamental identity of all these uses. 

Let me not be misunderstood. I do not regard it as ab- 
surd in itself (however unhistorical it may be) to derive all 
the uses of the Greek genitive from a single root — the one 
idea of departure. If the historical argument were as strong 
in its favor as it actually is against it, I should not reject it 
as a thing incredible. The historical analogies sometimes 
brought up in its support have, as it seems to me, but little 
force. It is said that the Greek genitive can almost always 


be represented by the English ' of,' and that of means ' from,' 
so that father of Alexander must have meant originally 
' father yV^/zz Alexander,' house of Miltiades must have meant 
'house from Miltiades,' and so in all those uses where the 
from-idea seems at first view most alien from the proper 
meaning of the genitive. Similarly the French' genitive is 
made by the preposition de, the original meaning of which is 
' from.' But the original meaning of a preposition is not of 
necessity to be regarded as having once belonged to it in 
every phrase or class of phrases which contains it. Compare 
the English preposition io, as used with the infinitive. There 
can be no doubt that this preposition originally meant 
' towards.' There can be no doubt that, when first used with 
the infinitive, it was in this sense of direction or tendency. 
But it is equally certain that with the infinitive, when used as 
the subject of a sentence, it has not, and never could have 
had, such a meaning. To err is Human never meant, or 
could have meant, 'toward erring is human.' One who should 
attempt to derive this use of the preposition by internal con- 
nejption from its original meaning would have to subject lan- 
guage to unwarrantable force. The to was, no doubt, first 
used with the infinitive in cases where the meaning ' towards ' 
was appropriate — either literally, / sent him to do it, i. e. ' to- 
ward doing it,' or metaphorically, I exhorted, comma7ided, re- 
quested him to do it. In this way it extended its use, until it 
came to be regarded as the proper concomitant or exponent 
of the infinitive, without reference to its origin : and only 
then, when its original force had vanished, when it had taken 
on a wholly different character, could it be used in such ex- 
pressions as to err is human. Now something like this may 
have been true in reference to the genitive in of or de. The 
preposition was perhaps applied first in those cases of the 
genitive which may without violence be regarded as ablatives : 
as John of Salisbury (where we may say either ' belonging to,' 
or 'arising from Salisbury '), one of the peers (one belonging to, 
or one taken from the peers), the son of Alfred (belonging to 
him, or springing from him, as his son), etc. Having thus es- 
tablished itself in these and similar cases as an equivalent for 
the genitive, the form with of may then have been extended , 


without reference to its proper meaning, so as to represent the 
genitive in its other uses. If this course of things be admitted 
as probable, or even possible, it cannot be asserted that all the 
uses of the genitive in of or de were ever actually thought of 
as/>'^;«-relations, in any development or modification of the 
/>'<7w-idea. And of course the English and French construc- 
tions cannot be relied on as parallel cases to support the 
theory which makes all uses of the Greek genitive to hefrom- 
relations, developments or modifications of theyV^w-idea. 

It may be thought, however, that there is some practical 
advantage in making the student refer all uses of the same 
form, even if originally distinct, to one common root ; that 
the one form and one universal meaning will thus stand 
together in his mind, mutually supporting and supported, and 
the phenomena of the language present a unity and harmony 
which must be lost under a different treatment. Whatever 
advantages may be gained in this way are perhaps hardly an 
equivalent for the sacrifice of truth, at least of historic proba- 
bility, which this method involves. But there is anpther 
point to be considered — a question of pedagogical ethics — 
is there not some danger of blunting the philological con- 
science of the student ? While I admit the abstract possi- 
bility of deducing all uses of the genitive from this single 
root, I cannot help believing, and my brief analysis of 
Kuhner's scheme may bear me out in the belief, that the pro- 
cess can hardly be accomplished without a good deal of 
straining and forcing. It cannot be well for the learner that 
he should be accustomed, in the first stadium of his gram- 
matical course, to subject the facts of language to a process 
of screwing and twisting ; that he should be taught to desert 
the simple, obvious, natural interpretation of language for 
that which is constrained or arbitrary. 


1863. " 

IT is more than forty years since Richard Payne Knight pub- 
Hshed in 1820 Ijis famous digammated Ihad — or rather 
Vilviad — of Homer. The book has taken its place among 
the curiosities of Hterature. Its author was an ingenious and 
elegant scholar ; but he had his hobby, and he rode it unmer- 
cifully. The horse of Phidippides, the spendthrift son in 
Aristophanes' Clouds, was marked with a Koinra {KOTTTrarLaq). 
Payne Knight's hobby was branded with another lost letter 
of the primitive Greek alphabet, the Digamma : wherever 
he goes, he bears the digamma with him. 

It is one of the most remarkable circumstances about Payne 
Knight's Iliad, that, more than twenty years after its publica- 
tion, a distinguished American scholar should have thought 
it worth while to reproduce 1?hree books of it on this side the 
ocean (see Anthon's Homer, New York, 1844). A page or 
two by way of specimen might have been amusing at least, 
even if uninstructive : but to take up in this way more than 
fifty pages of a school-book was to make the joke somewhat 

It might have been expected that the example of Payne 
Knight would deter succeeding editors from repeating an ex- 
periment which in his hands had turned out in a way at once 
so unfortunate and so ludicrous. But Immanuel Bekker, the 
Coryphaeus of recent textual criticism, has not shrunk from the 
hazard. In 1858 he brought out an Iliad and Odyssey in 
which the lost letter is admitted to a place in the Homeric 
text. This work embodies the results of many years' minute 
and laborious study. In 1809, after the appearance of Wolfs 
Homer in its third edition, Bekker, then a young man, re- 
viewed it in the Jena Litter atur-Zeitung. The review is said 


to have shown great mastery of the subject, and great aptitude 
for those critical labors which were to form the Hfe-work of its 
author. In 1843 he published a new recension of the Homeric 
text, which was immediately and universally recognized as a 
marked advance on that of Wolf. For the last five or six 
years, he has been giving out in the Alonatsberichte of the 
Berlin Academy a highly remarkable series of observations 
and researches in reference to Homer. With great ingenuity 
and acuteness, they evinc? an amount of patient labor which 
is absolutely marvellous. Thus, he goes through the whole 
extent of the poems to note and collect the verses in Avhich 
the third foot is without a caesura. In the 15,694 verses of 
the Iliad, he finds only 185 which have no caesura in the third 
foot; in the 12,101 of the Odyssey, only 71. Again, he goes 
through the whole extent of the poems to mark the cases of 
bucolic caesura, and observe whether the fourth foot, the one 
which precedes the caesura, is a dactyl or a spondee. Thus, 
in the fifth book of the Iliad he finds 531 bucolic caesuras, of 
which 470 are preceded by dactyls, 61 by spondees ; in the 
eleventh book, 575 bucolic caesuras, 478 preceded by dactyls, 
97 by spondees ; and so on for the other books. These are 
only specimens of the tasks which this conscientious and in- 
defatigable critic has imposed upon himself. The results of 
these protracted investigations appear in his last edition of 
the Iliad and Odyssey, that of 1858. This edition shows a 
great advance upon his first, of 1843. It is, in fact, con- 
structed on a different principle, and aims at a different ob- 
ject. The aim of Bekker in his first edition, like that of Wolf 
before him, was in general to reproduce the Homeric text as 
it was settled by the great critic Aristarchus, about two cen- 
turies before Christ, and handed down without intentional 
variation by subsequent copyists. It was the rule with Wolf, 
and with Bekker in his first edition, to give the readings which 
certainly or probably belonged to Aristarchus, except in oc- 
casional instances where there was unequivocal evidence to 
show the priority of a different reading. But in his second 
edition Bekker has taken a wider range. He has adopted as 
his guide the principle of analogy, and by the help of it has 
sought to go back beyond Aristarchus. Relying on analogies 


presented by a careful study of the Homeric poems, he has 
departed in many cases from' the readings of the manuscripts, 
even where these could be traced with more or less certainty 
to Aristarchus himself. The general propriety of this method 
has been disputed in many quarters. It is, indeed, rather 
singular in a critic like Bekker, who strenuously maintains 
the fragmentary origin of the poems, and who finds evidence 
of such an origin in the varieties and inconsistencies which 
they show, both as to grammaticaj forms and as to the use 
of words. He expects departures from analogy ; he re- 
gards them as having an d priori probability ; and yet the 
tendency of his criticism is to sweep them away from the text, 
wherever this can be done by gentle means : for he abstains 
on principle from changes of a violent or extreme character ; 
he does not treat his text with the despotic ingenuity of a 

But our object at present is to consider only one feature of 
the work — its introduction of the digamma. The objectors 
generally ^dmit that the digamma-sound (the v, or rather, the 
w-sound) belonged originally to the Homeric poems, and that 
it is proper in commentaries and other philological works to 
point out the traces of its existence and to discuss the extent 
of its use. But they object to a digammated text. They 
maintain with much plausibility that the poems from their 
first reduction to writing have never shown this letter ; and 
that the attempt to go back, not only beyond the first manu- 
scripts that we have, but beyond the first that ever existed, 
can have no reasonable hope of success. At any rate, they 
say, the case is not yet ripe for a digammated text. In re- 
gard to many words, it is still uncertain whether they were or 
were not sounded with a digamma in the Homeric time ; and 
in regard to many which certainly were so, it is doubtful 
whether they were uniformly sounded with this letter, or 
whether it was not sometimes omitted in pronunciation. If 
we take words which certainly had a digamma in the Homeric 
language, and attempt to represent them uniformly with this 
letter, we must make many violent and arbitrary changes of 
the text. If we adopt the principle of giving them with di- 
gamma wherever it can be done without such changes, we have 


to draw an uncertain line between changes which are violent 
and changes which are not so. And whichever of these 
courses we take, we can have no assurance that we are repro- 
ducing the genuine Homeric usage. It is impossible to deny 
the force of these objections. But their force would be much 
greater, if by the decree of fate the world were restricted to 
one printed text of Homer, just this and no more. In that 
case, we should say without hesitation, give us a text which 
comes as nearly as possible to that which Aristarchus — follow- 
ing, as we know that he did. with great soberness and cau- 
tion, the testimony of the best manuscripts that he could find 
— fixed upon as the true one ; or, if you depart from that, do 
so only when there is decisive evidence to warrant the de- 
parture. As a basis for Homeric study, as a standard for 
general use and reference, a text thus constituted is the best 
that we can have. But we are by no means restricted to a 
single text. For general purposes, we may continue to use 
Bekker's first edition, or we may take, what differs very little 
from it, the text of Dindorf in Teubner's Bibliotheca, or any 
better one which we can find constructed on the same prin- 
ciples. But Bekker's second edition will still have its value 
as a tentative, to show how far the principle of analog^', in the 
hands of a consummate critic, will serve to correct and im- 
prove the text of Homer which has come down to us by tra- 
dition from the ancient Alexandrine editors. And especially 
with reference to the digamma it will have a value of this kind, 
as showing what results can be secured by an intelligent, 
moderate, and cautious attempt to reinstate the long-lost 
Homeric letter. On this point the editor himself says, in his 
brief and pithy preface : " The .^olic letter, after it had dis- 
appeared through time and negligence, was by the mar- 
vellous sagacity of Bentley reclaimed from oblivion ; but lay 
thus for a long time, ridiculed by wits, by scholars invidiously 
assailed or unintelligently defended [the last evidently a hit at 
Payne Knight]. By Heyne it was admitted, at least into his 
commentary. The indispensable uses of this letter I could 
no longer treat with contempt, I have therefore restored the 
digamma, but so far only as I had the power and right to do, 
proceeding cautiously and with moderated step : I have re- 


stored it to its own place, as indicated by manifest traces, not 
by eager wishes or by hasty assumptions of my own." 

This language is fully borne out by an inspection of the book. 
The carefulness and conscientiousness of the editor are every- 
where apparent. In deciding what words are to be regarded 
as having the digamma, he relies mainly on the indications of 
the Homeric verse. From this it follows as a natural con- 
sequence that he recognizes only an initial digamma. Thus 
he writes Aio^, ' of Zeus,' /cXt;*,?, * key,' oiV, ' sheep,' not ALFb<i, 
K\riFi<i, 6Fi<i, though there is strong reason, derived from in- 
scriptions or from later dialects or from cognate tongues, for 
believing that these words had digamma in the Homeric lan- 
guage. He does not, however, reject the initial digamma of 
a word when it is brought by a prefix or by composition into 
the middle. Thus the digamma of peUoai, ' twenty,' is re- 
tained in ereiKoaL, that of Fciyvv/jii, ' to break,' in iFayrj, ' was 
broken,' that of Fekiro^at, ' to hope,' in Fepokira^ ' I hope,' 
that of jpfcSetz/, 'to see,' m' AFihrj<i^ 'unseen god, Hades,' that 
o{ Fr]^v<i, ' sweet,' in fiekLF'q^rj'^, [leXLF'qhea folvov, ' honey sweet 
wine.' He rejects all combinations of digamma with another 
consonant. • Thus Srjv, ' long,' which in numerous passages 
has the appearance of beginning with two consonants, and 
has been supposed by many to have the digamma-sound after 
the S [Bfijv), is by Bekker always written with a simple 8. 
In BeiSia, ' I fear,' many, since Buttmann, have recognized a 
Homeric BiSFia ; in eBBeicra, ' I feared,' a Homeric eSpeio-a : but 
Bekker always writes them according to the traditional way, 
only omitting one B from eBBeiaa. Nor does he recognize any 
lost letters beside digamma. Curtius, in the second part of 
his Principles of Greek Etymology, has endeavored to show 
that a consonant _)/-sound has in some instances given rise to 
the same appearances in the Homeric verse as those oc- 
casioned by the ^-or 2i/ sound (the digamma). But the words 
which are thus supposed to show traces of initial j Bekker 
either writes with digamma, or leaves them with a vowel-ini- 
tial. We shall refer again to this point before closing. 

We have said that, in determining what words had initial 
digamma in the Homeric language, our editor relies mainly on 
the indications of the Homeric verse. Having satisfied him- 


self in the case of any particular word that it did have the di- 
gamma, he proceeds to write the word, as also its derivatives 
and compounds, with that character : and this he does, not 
only where metrical reasons favor or require the introduction 
of a consonant, but wherever metrical reasons do not abso- 
lutely forbid the introduction of a consonant. In very many 
instances where the verse as we have it in our traditional text 
will not allow the digamma to come in, the difficulty can be 
removed by changes of the text which are more or less obvi- 
ous. Bekker's principle, it is evident, has been to write the 
word with digamma, whenever this is consistent with the 
verse as it stands in the ordinary text, or can be made so con- 
sistent by some slight and easy change of reading. He shows 
his judgment and moderation as a critic by refusing (at least, 
in general, with only rare exceptions) to make any consider- 
able or arbitrary change of reading for the sake of getting in 
his digamma. Rather than do this, he will allow the word to 
appear in a particular case without the initial consonant which 
usually belongs to it. I may illustrate his mode of procedure 
by a more particular statement of what he has done in the 
first book of the Iliad. In the 6ii lines of which it consists, 
there are found, if I have counted right, 162 which show the 
digamma. But some of these contain it more than once, so 
that 184 words are written with this character. In 36 of these, 
it is found, not at the absolute beginning of the word, but 
after a preposition or other prefix. Of the 184 words there 
are only 31, or about a sixth, in- which the introduction of the 
diagamma has required any further change of text ; and in 18 
of these 31, the only change required has been the omission 
of a movable v from the end of a preceding word. Thus in 
verses — • 

14. (TrififiaT e)(<iiv cr )(epclv hcrj^oXov 'AttoXAwvos. B. X^P^*- ^^'^• 

96. TOVV€K op d\y€ IScJKCV €*0/^oA.OS ^8" CTl S(io'€l. (Bo}K€ FCK. 

294. €t oijaol TTuv epyov {nreC^ofiai^ ottl kcv ciinys. otti k€ Fcitit^. 

In 8 instances, a slight change has been made in the gram- 
matical form of the preceding word, though in 2 out of the 8 
the change was not necessary in order to the introduction of 
the digamma. Tlie other six are as follows : — 


21. d^oyLievoi Atos VLOV iKr]j36Xov 'ATToXXajva. B. via F€(c. 

230. ow/o aTToaipeiaQai, o'i tis (redev olvtlov uirrj. avrla FetTrrf. 

288. Trarrajv fikv Kparieiv lOiXiL, 7ravT£0"0"i 8' dvatrcreiv. ttSctiv Se Fav. 

365. OLcrOa' TLT] TOi TttUT el8vtr] ttolvt dyopevoi. ravra FiSvirj. 

482. (TTCLpy TTopcfivpcov fieya)C ta^^e vt^os lovurj<;. y-^y^ Fta^e. 

576. ecr^A^s IcrcrcTai ^8os, CTret ra ^epitova vlko.. ecrrat F^Sos. 

In three instances a particle which seemed unnecessary has 
been omitted to make room for the digamma : — 

64. OS K €17701 OTt TOCTCTOV l)(<Ji<TaTO ^OL^O<i 'AtToXAwV. B. OS FeiTrT], 

548. ovT€ dewv TTpd-Pfpos Tovy eiaerai ovr' atSpoyrroiV. tov Fetcr. 

582. dXXa (TV Tovy' iireecrcn KaOdiTTea-Oai fxaXaKOLcriv. tov Fctt. 

In two instances one particle has been substituted for an- 
other : — 

19. CKTTcpo-at Jlpidfioio TToXiv cv 8' oiKa8* iKCO-^at. B. Ktti. Fot/coS'. 

395. 17 £7ret u>vr](ra<; Kpa^irjv Atos t7€ Kai epyw. t^c ti FepXo). 

I do not find in the first book any instance in which words 
are transposed for the sake of bringing in the digamma. I will 
add one or two instances from other parts of the poems : — 

^, 341. /JLecrcrrjyvi; KprjTrjpo<s tSe 6p6vov dpyvporjkov, B. Kpr/T^pos /u,co-(n;yv Fi8£ 
^,370. tcrracrav iv Biffipourt ' Trdxacrm Se 6vfU)<i kKacrrov. 

Ovfxos 8* iTTOiTaaae Fck. 

There are several instances in the first book where a word 
usually digammated is compelled by stress of metre to forego 
this addition. The lines which I have noted are — 

216. )(pr] fxrjv arfftoiiTepov ye, 6ed, Fc'ttos €ipuo-aaor^ai. not FeipvcrcraaOai. 

239. TTpos Aios elpvarai' o Se tol p,eyas tacr^TaL opKos. Fctpmrai. 

294. ct 8r) crol irdv epyov vir(.i^^ ottl K€-FeL7rrj<;. inroFet^ofiat. 

438. CK 8' kKaroiJifirjv firjcrav eKT^^oXw 'AttoXX'-'vi, FcK^ySdXo). 

555. vvv 8' aivws SetSot/ca Kara tfipeva /at; (Ti TrapeLirrj. irapaFewny. 

My search was a hasty one. It is most likely that careful 
looking would bring out a few more cases of this kind. 


Before proceeding to notice and criticise the treatment of 
particular words, there are two remarks of a general nature 
which it seems important to premise. They relate to the evi- 
dence in favor of a digamma, and the evidence against a 
digamma, in the case of any particular word. 

First, as to the evidence in favor, it must always be borne 
in mind that there are cases in which hiatus was more or less 
freely allowed in the epic verse, so that hiatus occurring in 
such cases furnishes little, if any, presumption for an initial 
digamma. In my Grammar (^J d) are mentioned three 
cases of this kind : i. when the first of two words ends in a 
close vowel (t, v), and seldom or never suffers elision : this 
applies especially to the dative singular of the third declen- 
sion, as irat.ZX oTraaae ; 2. when the two words are separated 
by a clearly required mark of punctuation, as KaOrjao, ifim B' 
eTrnreiOeo fiv6a ; 3. (the most important case) when the vowels 
which make hiatus are two short syllables of the third foot, or, 
in other words, at the feminine caesura of the third foot, as 
rSiv 01 e^ iyivovTO ivl fieydpoun, yevedXrj. In this place it has 
been proved that hiatus is allowed with much the same free- 
dom as at the end of a verse. There is another case which 
ought to be added to these three — a case in which hiatus is 
easily excused, if not freely allowed — and that is, after a long 
vowel or diphthong in arsis, and particularly the arsis of the 
third or the fifth foot. The first line of the Iliad is an instance 
in point : — 

I. firjvw aetBe, dco, TIrjXrjia8e<tt 'A^iXrjo^. 

which shows hiatus after the arsis of the fifth foot : after the 
arsis of the third, we find it in A. — 

24. oAA ovK 'ArptiSy 'Aya^c/ivovi ^Sove OvfJLu. 
42. TLcreiav Aai'ooi e^a 8dKpva (roicri fiiXtaaLV. 

Here also, after the long arsis of the third foot, as well as in 
the feminine caesura of that foot, we find something of the 
same freedom as at the end of a verse. This appears in such 
lines as A. — 

153. ^cvpo fuvfotfTOfji^vo^ cTTci ov Tt /xot aiTioi eurtv. 


where 09, the last syallable of yiayr]ab^e.vo^, stands in the 
third arsis before eVe/, whicli certainly did not begin with 

The other remark relates to the negative evidence, that 
which goes to disprove a digamma. It is well known that, 
for every digammated word, even the best ascertained, there 
is some evidence of this character : there are some passages* 
in the poems as we have them, in which the digamma cannot 
be written without violating the metre. It is obviously desir- 
able that we should have some idea as to the range of these 
exceptional cases, their numerical ratio to the whole number 
of passages in which the word occurs. On this subject there 
are some good remarks in Kuhn's Zeitschrift, x. 60 ff. , in an 
article by H. L. Ahrens on eVacrro?, one of the words which 
Bekker has digammated. Ahrens enumerates all the instan- 
ces, 1 10 in number, where this word occurs in the Iliad, and 
states that there are 44 of these in which the digamma could 
not be written into the traditional text without a violation of 
metre. But as 16 of the 44 can be made to admit the 
digamma by simply dropping a movable v from the preceding 
word, they are left out of the count, which reduces the un- 
conformable cases to 28 in no, or about 25 per cent. This 
ratio, Ahrens says, is so large as to throw discredit on the ini- 
tial digamma. To prove it so, he takes the word ava^ 
(originally Fava^), ' king,' which he finds to occur 151 times 
in the Iliad. Here, setting aside, as before, the cases in 
which only a movable v stands in the way of the digamma, he 
makes 1 1 out of 1 5 1 to be the number of unconformable cases, 
or about 7^ per cent. He then proceeds to say that as to 
other words which have an unquestionable digamma, as epyov, 
ISelv, olKo<i, olvo^, etc., any one may satisfy himself by his 
own observation that the percentage of unconformable cases 
is not larger, that it is rather smaller, than for dva^. It could 
not justly be inferred from these observations of Ahrens that 
no words had the digamma in Homer for which the uncon- 
formable cases exceed 7 or 8 per cent. ; but only that in such 
words the digamma must be regarded as more or less doubt- 
ful, and, if the proportion is very much greater, as improb- 
able. It is also evident that the weight to be given to this 


test will depend somewhat on the absolute number of instan- 
ces in which a word is found. If the word occurs but seldom, 
the ratio of conformable and unconformable cases may be in 
a measure accidental ; but the influence of accident dimin- 
ishes as the numbers we are dealing with increase. 

We come now to some criticism of particular words, as 
"written by Bekker with or without digamma. All the words 
which have been generally agreed upon as showing evidence 
of this initial receive it here. The list of digammated words 
given in my Grammar (23 D) was not designed to be complete, 
but only to include the most important roots in which traces 
of the consonant-initial have been generally recognized. It 
contains about 33 distinct roots ; and in all these, without ex- 
ception, Bekker has admitted the digamma. Besides these, 
he admits it in some 20 or 30 more, for I have not been able 
yet to make out an exact list. In many of these additional 
words, the real existence of the digamma is beyond all rea- 
sonable doubt. This is true, for instance, of ero9, ' year,' 
which connects itself naturally with Skt. vatsara, 'year,' 
Lat. vctHs, 'old' {i.e. 'full of years, atniosus'). Out of 19 
Homeric passages which show the word, only two resist the 
introduction of the consonant, and these allow it if we only re- 
insert an elided vowel: thus, roa-aavr erea {B. 328) may* be 
changed to roaa-avra lirea, ttoXX erea (T. 255) to ttoWo. reTea, 
the last two vowels of rirea being taken as one syllable by a 
frequent synizesis. But, as might have been expected, there 
are words written by Bekker with digamma in which there is 
room for doubt and for difference of opinion. A striking in- 
stance of this kind is found in the word eXtop, ' prey,' which 
occurs 8 times, with the connected ekcopa and iXcopia.^ each of 
which occurs once (the last in A. 4). In three of these 10 
passages (P. 66y, A. 4, jE. 684) there is a hiatus before the 
word, but it is at the feminine caesura of the third foot, where 
hiatus has scarcely any weight in proving an initial consonant. 
In 5 passages {E. 488, P. 151, 7. 271, e. 473, o>. 292), a v 
movable precedes, which neither hinders us from assuming 
digamma, nor furnishes any proof of its existence. The re- 
maining two passages give evidence of an initial vowel. In 
one, UaTpoKXoto S" eXtapa {^. 93), the e of Be is elided before 


eXcopa : in the other, fi^ tto)? uol eXap (v. 208), the diphthong 
of fji,oi, is ipade short. In the first case, Bekker gets rid of the 
difficulty by reading TIarpoKkov Se Fekwpa ; in the second, he 
yields to the difficulty, and writes eXwp without digamma. 
We cannot here lay much stress on the proportion (20 per 
cent.) of unconformable passages, the whole number being so 
small. But as digamma is not required in any single passage 
of the 10, and is excluded by 2, it is certainly hazardous to 
assume it without other proof of its existence. Such proof 
one might perhaps find in its derivation. It is natural to take 
it from the root which appears in the second aorist of alpeoa, 
infin. kXelv, indie. elXov, where the augment affords evidence 
of an original consonant initial. If elXov is for ereXov, eXelu 
for peXeiv, we might connect them with Latin vello, ' to pluck.' 
But the 2d aor. of aipew is never written with digamma by 
Bekker, and it is quite clear that it was not digammated in 
the Homeric language. It furnishes, therefore, a very fee- 
ble presumption for the digamma of the substantives; and we 
cannot but conclude that it would have been the safer and 
wiser course to leave the substantives also without di- 

Another word in which we must question the propriety of 
the digamma that Bekker gives it is the deponent verb 
ipvofiac, ' to watch, guard, preserve." This verb, in many of 
its forms, is apparently identical with ipvco, ' to draw ; ' and it 
has been assumed almost universally that they come from 
the same root. Buttmann in his Lexilogus argues the ques- 
tion at length, maintaining their essential identity. Apart 
from the indications of a digamma, there are other reasons 
for separating the two verbs. Thus, as to form, epvco, ' to 
draw,' shows et only where it would arise from augment or 
reduplication; while ipvofiai, ^ to guard,' shows elpvaaovTai, in 
the future, elpvo-aaaOat in the aorist infinitive, and other like 
forms. Again, ipvo/xat, 'to guard,' is sometimes inflected ac- 
cording to the /it-form, as in epvro, eipvvro, etc., which is 
•never the case with ipvco, ' to draw.' And yet again, with 
ipvofiai, ' to guard,' there is a verb pvoju,at, with initial p, which 
has the same meaning : with ipvco, ' to draw,' there is no such, 
uside-form. Of these points of differenpe, Buttmann does not 


notice the first two : as to the last, he says with much force 
that the substantive pvTj]p, ' pole of a wagon (drawer) ' gives 
proof of a verb pvQ)=ipvo), ' to draw. ' If we turn from the form 
to consider the meaning of these verbs, we find something 
of a step from ' drawing ' to * watching.' Buttmann, however, 
bridges over the gulf: from ' drawing to one's self (the proper 
sense of the middle form) comes the idea of ' rescuing ; ' from 
' rescuing ' that of ' guarding : ' from ' guarding ' that ot ' watch- 
ing ' and even of ' watching against. ' The development is cer- 
tainly possible, and, if it stopped at the point of 'rescuing.' we 
might regard it as probable : but from 'rescuing' to 'watching 
against, watching to injure,' there is still along journey, which 
we cannot assume without hesitation. But these reasons for 
separating the words gain almost irresistible confirmation 
from a circumstance which Buttmann has not noticed — viz., 
that the indications of the Homeric verse show very clearly 
that ipvco, ' to draw,' began with a consonant, and almost as 
clearly that ipvo/xai, ' to guard,' began with a vowel. I have 
collected the Homeric passages which show middle forms of 
epvco, ' to draw :' I find 60 in all, many of which give strong 
proof of an initial consonant, while only 3 {i. e. 5 per cent, 
of the whole number) oppose its introduction. Of the de- 
ponent ipvofiav I find 43 instances in all, among which 23, or 
more than half, resist the introduction of a digamma. Forms 
which begin with e followed by pp I of course do not reckon, 
as they obviously belong to pvofiai, not ipvofiai. It might be 
said, however, that some forms in which e is followed by 
single p, such as epvTO, 'was guarding,' ipvtraaTo, 'guarded,' 
could also be taken from pvofiai, the p being left single after 
the augment, as often happens in the aorist of pe^o)^ ' to do.' 
Assuming this, we shall have in all 29 instances of ipvofiai, of 
which 12, or more than 40 per cent., will resist the introduc- 
tion of digamma. Again, it might be said that such a form 
as elpua-aaro is to be explained from erepvaaaro^ by omission 
of digamma and contraction of the vowels, so that we could 
not expect to see in elpva-auTo the digamma which belongs 
to the verb-root. If we admit the justice of this reasoning, 
we shall still further reduce the number of instances to be 
considered, bringing them down to 19 ; of which, however, 



9, or nearly half, will still oppose the digamma. It is possi- 
ble that two or three of the cases which I have regarded as 
middle forms of kpvw might be assigned to ipvofiai, in the 
sense of 'rescuing ;' but if we should transfer them accordingly, 
this would not materially affect the numerical relations just 
exhibited. Observe, then, that in the middle of ipva only 
one twentieth of the instances resist the insertion of digamma, 
while in ipvofiai, ' to guard,' nearly or quite half of them resist 
it. This is a very great difference, and cannot possibly be 
imputed to accident. I hold, therefore, that Ahrens is fully 
justified in separating the two words, as he has done in his 
Grammar of 1852 ; and I regard as highly probable his con- 
jecture that epvofiai began originally with a- (compare the 
Greek a conjunctive, which was originally sa), and that it is 
connected with Latin servo. The primitive sense may have 
been that of ' watching,' which we see in the compound ob- 
serve, and from which we readily derive the ideas of * guarding' 
and * preserving.' But whether it once began with cr or not, 
we must in any case disapprove the procedure of Bekker in 
writing it, wherever he can, with digamma. There are in 
fact only 4 places out of more than 40 which give any sign of 
an initial consonant. Two of these are in the 23d book of 
the Odyssey (82, 229), which has in it much that is peculiar, 
while the others are in a line that occurs twice {i. 194, k. 
444) :— 

avTov Trap vrji' re [leveiv Ka\ vija epvadau. 


This shows another metrical irregularity, the short i of vifjt 
being used for a long syllable. Appare'ntly it is only a varia- 
tion of the perfectly regular verse — 

avTOV Trap vijea-cxt fjuivetv koX vrja<i epvcrOai (^. 260, p. 429). 

the two plurals being changed to singulars, with little regard 
to metrical exactness. 

In speaking of epvofxav, I have touched incidentally upon 
the question whether digamma should be prefixed to the 
augmented forms of digammate verbs. Wherever the aug- 
ment makes a syllable by itself, Bekker, no doubt with cor- 


rectness, writes the digamma after it : thus eForp], ' was 
broken,' from Far/vu/iii ; iFoXij, ' was pressed,' from FelXw ; 
erenrov, ' I said,' tense-stem fcltt, from reFeir. But when the 
augment coalesces with the root in the same syllable, he places 
digamma at the beginning, and of course before the augment : 
thus he writes Fd^ov, ' I saw,' originally eFiBov ; FTjvcuTcre, 
'was ruling,' originally eFUvaaae ; Fqvhave, 'was pleasing,' 
originally eFavBave. Now the temporal augment of rjvaaae 
must either have come from a stem which had already lost 
the digamma, or it must have arisen from a stem with digam- 
ma, by dropping that consonant between e and a, with con- 
traction of these vowels. In either case, the augmented form 
should be without digamma, which could only appear by what 
must be regarded as an improbable transposition : eFuvaaae, 
F^avaaae, Frjvaaae ; cflSov, fcISov, FelSov. It is, at any rate, 
a transposition which we should not accept without clear 
indications in the Homeric verse. I must own that I have 
not looked up the evidence myself on this point. But a 
writer in Jahn's JaJirhucher (Ixxxi. 68i), Heinrich Rumpf, 
professes to have done so. He says, at least, that he has 
looked at all the 2d aorist forms of the root ih which by the 
augment begin with et, also at the forms of avaaaui, avSdv(o, 
and aywfii, which by the augment begin with 7). The num- 
ber of these, taken together, would be about 60, and there 
are 6 of them {yfr. 392, 7. 305, c. 182, k. 373, \. 162, t. 539) 
which resist an initial digamma. The proportion here is not 
decisive. But it is more important that he finds not a single 
case which requires digamma, and only one which on Bekker's 
principles can be regarded as yielding it any particular sup- 
port. We must conclude, then, that there is no sufficient 
warrant for Bekker's writing of these forms. 

In this connection I may speak of the form ijIkto, a pluper- 
fect middle of the stem ck or eiK. It occurs four times in the 
Odyssey in the expression Se/xa? S' rjl/cro yvvaiKL, which does 
not allow an initial digamma. "HIkto is most naturally ex- 
plained as being equivalent to eFenKTo, the first e being the 
augment of the pluperfect, which after the loss of digamma is 
contracted with the e of the reduplication : CFeFC/cro, eelKTo, 
•qiKTO, like epavaaae, eavaaae, ^vaaae. Now it is remarkable 


that the form clkto, with e instead of 77, occurs once, in 'yjr. 107 
— /cai fioi GKaar iirkreXkev • gCkto he deaKeXov avrw. This form 
is naturally explained as being for fcfikto, with the reduplica- 
tion, but without the augment, of the pluperfect. It will be 
seen that the passage allows, though it does not require, an 
initial digamma. Bekker writes it without ; in our judgment 
he should have inserted it : thus, kui fioi cKaar eVereXXe • 
FeFiKTO Be deaKeXov avrm. 

If we have complained of Bekker for prefixing digamma to 
the augmented forms of digammate verbs, we have to com- 
plain of him for omitting digamma in some instances from 
their reduplicated forms. The word just mentioned, in which 
he writes cfckto, not fSfikto, is a case in point. Another is 
seen in %. 348 : — 

iravToia'i eve^vaev ■ CFOiKa Be rot irapaeiBeiv. 

On first looking at this, I thought that perhaps the pause 
(colon) before eoiKa might have had something to do with 
Bekker's retention of the preceding v movable. But I found 
afterwards a passage (I. 70), which in this respect is exactly- 
similar, but is differently treated by Bekker : — 

Bai'vu Balra jepovcri' FeFOiKe rot, ov rot dFeiKe<;. 

This inconsistency, I suspect, must be the result of inadver- 
tence. In all other cases, so far as I have observed, Bekker 
writes the perfect and pluperfect active of this verb with di- 
gamma, where the verse allows it. The number of instances 
is very large — 125, if I have counted right — and the uncon- 
formable cases only 10, or about 8 per cent. The perfect of 
dvBdvoy (root FttS) occurs but twice (I. 173, a. 422). Bekker 
both times writes Trdaiv eFoBora. We hold that he should 
have written irdat FCFaBora : the presumption is that the di- 
gamma was regularly repeated in the reduplication, as Bek- 
ker gives it in FSFOLica. The perfect middle of etXco (root Fe\) 
occurs four times, twice after v movable, and twice after a 
hiatus, which however is at the feminine caesura of the third 
root. Bekker everywhere writes eFeXiieOa, eVeX/iei/o? : we hold, 
as before, that he should have written FeFekfxeOa, FeFeXfjbivo^. 
The next case to be considered — that of eXTrofxai (root FeXir), 



' to hope ' — is attended with more difficulty. The perfect 
eoXira and pluperfect itoXireiv occur twelve times in all : 3 
times with hiatus, 4 times with v movable before them : there- 
fore 7 times where digamma is admissible ; leaving 5 cases 
which resist it. This large proportion of unconformable cases 
might make us doubt whether we ought to recognize digamma 
at all in these forms. But the f of the root is unquestionable, 
and gives a strong presumption for f in the reduplication. 
And besides, the three cases of hiatus occur in a part of the 
verse (at fem. eaes. of 2d foot) where hiatus is inadmissible. 
We hold, therefore, that there is sufficient evidence of Ho- 
meric FeFokira and percoXireiv (or reroXTreiv), and that these 
forms should have been given, according to Bekker's princi- 
ple, wherever the verse allows them. He has in fact given 
them only in the 3 cases of hiatus, while in the 4 of v movable 
he retains that letter, and writes epoKira, ircoXTreiv ; thus con- 
travening both his general method and his procedure in the 
parallel case of eoLxa, ewKeiv. In eopya, icopyeiv, we find very 
much the same state of things — 12 passages in all, of which 5 
resist digamma. The v movable, however, occurs here in only 
one case {^. 289) : — 

rp(t)/CTr)<;, 09 Btj TToXXa kuk avOpayjrouriv icopyei. 

Here, from the analogy of his procedure in reference to 
eoiKireiv, we may presume that Bekker would have written 
avOparTTOKTiv ipoopyeiv, if he had not followed Voss in making a 
greater change, altering the dative to an accusative, in ac- 
cordance with the usual construction of the verb, making 
av6p(OTrox)<; elrcopyeiv. It might be questioned, however, 
whether we ought not in this case to have rjFopyeiv for 
ereFopyeiv, in the same manner as rjFUcro for eFepucro. In 
the perfect middle of epyai (root Fepy), 'to shut,' we find a 
different state of things. Here we have epyarai and epxaro 
occurring 7 times. They are evidently forms without redu^ 
plication, like olBa, 'I know' *(?. e. FolBa, not reFotSa), 
elfjuii, 'am clothed' {i. e. Fecrfiai, not F€F€(Tfiai) ; and, in 
stems beginning with other letters, Bi^aTat, 'have received*, 
(for SeS£)(aTai) , dvar/a, 'I command' (for ijvfir/a). Hence, 
when we find iepyfievai and iep^aro occurring each of them 


once, we must presume that the first e is not part of a redu- 
plication, but the same common prefix which we find, for 
instance, in iiXSofiai [i. e. eFekhofiai) for FeXBo/xat, 'to wish,' 
and the aorist participle ie(,ad/j,evo<i (/. e. ereia-a/jbevo^i) , 'hav- 
ing lilcened one's-self.' We shall not then be surprised to see 
that eFepyfjiivac and iFep-)(aro do not admit initial digamma. 
We come now to consider the question whether our editor 
does right in recognizing only one lost consonant, the di- 
gamma, or whether he should not have recognized others as 
producing similar appearances in the Homeric verse. Cur- 
tius, in the concluding part of his Principles of Greek Ety- 
mology, maintains in the case of several words that the epic 
hiatus was occasioned by a consonant y-sound. He holds 
this to be true in reference to eoiKa, icpKevv, which we have 
just considered. He remarks that dialects and inscriptions 
give no evidence of digamma in this word ; that no root vik 
in the sense of ' likeness ' is to be found in the cognate lan- 
guages ; and that it is therefore very hazardous to write 
FepoiKa, F€Fa)Ketv, in the text of Homer. He observes that 
there are clear traces in Herodotus and elsewhere of & word 
BeLK7]\o^ or BeiKeXa having the sense of (e)iKe\o^, ' like, simi- 
lar.' He is therefore led tb adopt the conjecture of Bopp, 
that the root of eotKa is formed from that of SecKVv/Mi, Lat. 
dico, Skt. dig {i. e, dik), ' to show.' He conceives that the 
8 assumed a parasitic y, and then dropped away itself — thus, 
dik, dyik, yik — and that from yik thus formed came by redu- 
plication yeyoLKa, yeya)Ketv. I cannot think that there is much 
plausibility in this explanation. If the transition from dik to 
yik was made in the formative Indo-European period, we 
might expect to find a root yik having the sense of ' likeness ' 
somewhere in the cognate languages, which Curtius does not 
pretend is the fact. It is evident, indeed, that he regards 
the evolution of yik from dik as taking place in the Greek, 
after the Indo-European time. We must think, then, of the 
root dik as already provided with inflection, making a redu- 
plicated preterite BeSoiKa, from which would come first, by 
adding J to both B's, SyeSyotKa, and then, by dropping both 
the 8's, yeyoiKu. But the change from 8 to y is confessedly a 
rare one in the Greek language ; how hazardous then to as- 


sume that it has occurred twice in tlie same form ! It might 
perhaps be said that the change occurred first in some such 
form as St/ceXo?, meaning 'like,' which passed into j't/ceXo? ; 
that this gave the suggestion of a root yiK, meaning ' to be 
like/ and that yeyoiKa was formed independently from this 
suggested root, and not by phonetic change from a pre-ex- 
isting SeSoi/ca. This is indeed possible : but we should 
scarcely expect that a root arising at this comparatively late 
stage of linguistic development would take the more primitive 
formation seen in eoiKa, with its interchange of ik, etx, olk. 
For such reasons, the rise of colku from a root dik seems to me 
scarcely more than a possibility. It must be observed, too, 
that unless the connection of eoLKa with a root dik is rendered 
probable, there is no more reason for writing it with j than 
with F. And if no more reason, we may justly say that there 
is less reason for^ than for p, because the very regularity with 
which this word in the Homeric text gives evidence of a con- 
sonant initial is a circumstance in favor of f. In this respect 
it ranks, as we have seen, among the most regular words, the 
unconformable cases being only lo in 126, or about 8 per 
cent. If we consider how much earlier and more complete 
was the disappearance of y froni the language when com- 
pared with that of f, we shall be slow to believe that the 
former should maintain itself in the Homeric verse with the 
same constancy as the latter. 

Another case in which Curtius recognizes traces of an 
initial y in Homer is the deponent te/wit, ' to be eager, to de- 
sire, to long.' It occurs in 61 instances, of which 22 by hiatus 
give evidence of a consonant initial, and the unconformable 
cases are only 3, or about 5 per cent. Bekker writes it with 
digamma. To this Curtius objects, asserting that the verb 
vq^ii is a reduplicated form of the root yd, which appears in 
Sanskrit, and is itself an extended form of the root /, * to go.' 
Thus iTjfii—yi-yd-mi, ' to cause to go, to send.' In the middle 
this would mean 'to send one's self,' and hence ' to hasten, to 
pursue eagerly, to aim at, to long for.' To this no objection 
can be made as regards the meaning. But it is a remarkable 
circumstance that 'irifit, 'to send,' shows no traces in Homer 
of anything but a vowel initial. Of simple forms in the pre- 


sent and imperfect — these I take for comparison because 
te/iat, ' to desire,' is confined to those tenses — I find in the 
sense of ' sending ' 29 (all active except A. yj , M. 274, ;;^. 304, 
which show the middle or passive) ; and of this 29, not less 
than 24, or more than 80 per cent. , refuse to admit a conso- 
nant initial. Compound forms, such as dj)Lr]/j,t, fMeOirj/ni, etc., 
I have not taken into the account : I believe, however, that 
all of them which are capable of furnishing any evidence on 
the point testify against a consonant initial for the simple 
verb. It may be regarded as perfectly certain that ttj/xt, ' to 
send,' was sounded by Homer with an initial vowel, and le/xai,, 
' to desire,' with an initial consonant. We have here a dis- 
tinction of the same kind as that which we before proved to 
exist between ipvco, * to draw,' and ipvo/iat, ' to guard.' 
Now it might be said by one who maintained the original 
identity of'irjfio, ' to send,' and lefjuai, * to desire,' that the j/ 
which once belonged to both alike was retained, and that with 
uniformity, in the sense of ' desiring,' after it had been lost, 
and that with uniformity, in the sense of sending.' That this 
is a possibility we admit, but it is nothmg more. The pro- 
bability is that the two words are radically distinct ; and if 
so, then, for the same reason as before, the i^has more in its 
favor than thejj/. The fact that later dialects furnish no sup- 
port to it is of little significance, as the deponent J'e/iat be- 
longs only to the ea'rly language. 

The remaining case in which Curtius recognizes initial j as 
exercising the power of a consonant in the Homeric verse is 
the relative stem, which appears in 09, ^, o, &>?, oio<i, oa-o<;, 
07rce)<?, OTTolo'i, 6(f)pa, ^fio<i, iva, ew?, etc. Savelsberg, in the 
eighth volume of Kuhn's Zeitschrift, has given a series of cita- 
tions from Homer showing traces of an initial consonant for 
this class of words. Unfortunately he has not furnished 
exact numerical data, by which we might see the comparative 
frequency or infrequency of the phenomenon. I have not 
myself had time to supply the deficiency. I have only run 
hastily through the first book of the Iliad, noting all words which 
show the relative stem — omitting, however, the relative ad- 
verb w?, which in this respect stands by itself. The whole 
number of instances noted was 72, of which 30, or about 42 


per cent. , testify against a consonant initial. Of the remain- 
ing instances, many Avere found at the beginning of a Hne, or 
in other indecisive positions ; and in fact there are only 8, or 
one ninth of the whole number, which give any indication of 
a consonant initial. Even of these, the majority, either from 
the part of the verse which they occupy, or from the pause 
which precedes them, are of but little weight : only 2 or 3 
give decided indications of an initial consonant. I strongly 
suspect that a more extended comparison would not essen- 
tially change the proportions derived from this first book. 
They seem barely sufficient to give plausibility to the con- 
jecture that the relative stem did once begin with a consonant, 
but had nearly or quite lost it in the Homeric time. I say 
" nearly or quite : " for if the letter had wholly died out from 
common use shortly before Homer's time, the force of epic 
tradition would probably have caused some traces of it still 
to appear in his verse. But the adverb to? differs in this re- 
spect very remarkably from the other forms of the relative 
stem. According to Bekker, as cited by Curtius, the in- 
stances which indicate a consonant initial are three times 
more numerous than those which indicate a vowel initial. It 
can hardly be doubted that this word, as pronounced in the 
Homeric time, began frequently, if not generally, with a 

It must be owned that our condition as regards the ety- 
mology of the Greek relative is an unsatisfactory one. We 
are less confident and comfortable than we were ten years 
ago. Then we had no hesitation about connecting it with 
the Skt. yas, ya, yat, assuming a change of y to the rough 
breathing, as in rprap {i. e. rjirapT), ' liver,' Skt. jrt>^r/ (/. e. 
yakart). But now, if we do not surrender this conviction, 
our faith in it has become less full and sure. A Locrian in- 
scription, published by L. Ross in 1854, presents the form 
FOTI, with digamma, for on. A digammated form of the 
relative stem is also seen in a gloss of Hesychius, quoted by 
Savelsberg: JBaXi/ctctj-T;?, (Tvvi(f>T],8o<; , Kpi^ra — i.e. 'for " youth- 
ful companion " the Cretans use Pa\.iKi(t)T7}<i ,' (i.e. FaXiKiwTTjf;, 
equivalent to qXiKicoTTjq) . To these testimonies, Savelsberg, 
in rtie article referred to, adds the indications of digamma in 


the Homeric verse, and concludes that the Greek relative was 
FO'^., FTj, f6, or jpo?. Fa , FOT. These he supposes to have been 
later forms of KFO<i, kfcL, kfot, Latin qui, quae, quod. He 
thus identifies again the Greek and Latin relatives, though 
in a very different way from that of the old-fashioned ety- 
mology, which held that the original k of the Greek relative 
was in Latin hardened to a /^-sound {qu). The omission of 
the >^-sound in the Greek f6^ would be something like that in 
the Latin ubi, tmde, for cubi, cunde, which remain in the 
compounds siaibi, alicunde. The stem kva, which would 
thus underlie the relatives of these two languages, Saveisberg 
supposes to have been developed out of ka, the stem of the 
Sanskrit interrogative. He goes yet further, and from the 
same origin derives even the Sanskrit relative : ya, he thinks, 
is for kya ; and kya, like kva, is only an altered form of ka. 
But Schleicher and Curtius are not yet prepared to admit 
that the Greek relative-stem began with digamma, still less 
that it was ever kva. The former touches on the subject in his 
Compendium of Comparative Grammar, p. i8o : the latter, 
more at length, in his Principles of Greek Etymology, ii. 
177-8. In respect to the FOTI of the Locrian inscription, 
they say that, when the digamma-sound had nearly vanished 
from the Greek dialects, its sign was sometimes used improp- 
erly by scribes or grammarians for other spirants, and espe- 
cially for the y, which had no sign of its own even in the 
earliest Greek alphabet ; and they appeal to a Corcyraean in- 
scription, which shows a genitive singular masculine of the 
first declension in -AFO, where all analogy would lead us to 
expect -ayo or -aJiyo, Skt. asya. As regards the Homeric 
usage, they say that the phenomena which seem to indicate 
digamma could equally well be produced by 7. In this there 
is no intrinsic improbability, though we should be glad to 
have the support of some parallel case which we could look 
upon as clear and certain. The parallels which Curtius 
brings forward are the verb te/, ' to aim at, desire,' and the 
root oieoiKa; neither of which, as we have seen, is much to 
be relied on. As to the derivation of a relative fo^ from kfo^ 
by omission of k, Curtius remarks that " the only phonetic 
analogy which could be called in to support it is that of the High 


German wer {{ov hwer)=Go\h\c hvas, cf. Eng. what. But 
the loss of the feeble k proves little for that of k; and how 
improbable that of the two consonants the Greek would give 
up the perfectly familiar k in favor of the unstable digamma, 
wavering even from the earliest time ! " It may be observed, 
in passing, that Curtius* own derivation of eoiKa from dik^ 
dyik, yik is liable to the same objection : it makes the Greek 
give up the familiar 8 in favor of the unstable and perishing 
y. "Still less," he continues, "can it be proved that Skt. 
yas has come from kyas, and that ka, with the secondary 
kva, kya, is the common root of all these widely ramified 
pronouns. Finally, the demonstrative meaning of the Greek 
o? in Kol o? e^ speaks against this derivation, and recom- 
mends the assumption that the originally demonstrative stem 
/, with the secondary form j«, lies at the basis of the Greek 
relative." As the demonstrative use in kcu 09 e<^ is confined 
to the nominative, while in the accusative we have koX top, it 
seems to me quite possible that the 09 is for 6, by confusion 
of the two forms 09 and o, so much alike in appearance, 
though so diverse in origin. Curtius then adds, as Schlei- 
cher also does, that, if the Greek relative did really begin with 
F, it would be preferable to explain it from a stem sva, which 
appears with relative force in Gothic sve, ' as,' whence the 
German so in its relative use. This relative stem sva was long 
ago recognized in Greek by Curtius himself (Kuhn's Zeit- 
schrift, iii. 75, 76), though only in the merest relic, the adverb 
<^7^, ' as,' which the Alexandrine critic Zenodotus read in two 
passages of the Iliad (B. 144, H. 499)- Lottner afterwards, 
in Kuhn's Zeitschrift, ix. 320, proposed to derive all the 
forms of the Greek relative from this same stem. But the 
traces of a digamma in the Greek relative are much less fre- 
quent and decided than we should naturally expect to find 
them if this were its real derivation — much less so than in the 
forms of the possessive o?, rj, 6v, ' his, her, its,' which come 
from a stem of the same sound, sva, though of widely different 
import. Possibly the fact which we have noticed, that the 
adverb w? differs so much from the other forms of the relative 
in the indications which it shows of a consonant initial, may 
warrant the conjecture that they are of different origin — that, 


in fact, ft)9 came from the digammate stem sva, while 09, olo<;y 
6ao<;, and the rest, are akin to the Sanskrit yas, yd, yat, and 
came from a stem with initial j-sound. 

Ahrens, in Kuhn's Zeitschrift, x. 65 ff. , has sought to show 
that appearances in the Homeric verse similar to those pro- 
duced by digamma are in some instances to be ascribed to a 
lost sigma. An instance of this kind — in which, however, 
the initial o- is not lost, but retained in the written text — is 
presented by the word v<i, 'hog.' The simple form of this 
word appears in 55 passages with initial a, as o-O?, cruo?, etc. 
It occurs also in 21 passages where an initial consonant would 
be incompatible with the metre; and in all these places the 
cr is dropped ; we have u<?, v6<i, etc. In the later language, 
both forms of this word were in use, though the one with 
consonant initial was comparatively rare. If, when the poems 
were reduced to writing, the form with a had been wholly 
lost from use, it is probable that our written text would have 
shown 5? only, with initial vowel, in all the "jG passages, 
though in many of them the metre would have shown traces of 
a lost consonant. And it is quite conceivable that in other words 
this may actually have been the case. Such an occurrence 
Ahrens recognizes with no little plausibility in the words vXtj, 
'wood,' 609 possessive, and e/caarofi, 'each.' In regard to 
vXrj, Lat. si/va, it is certain that it began originally with cr, 
and equally certain that in Homer's language it usually began 
with a vowel. But there are two cases of a remarkable 
hiatus before the word {aeUro vXt], S. 285, and eTre^^^evaro 
v\qv, e 257, where vXr} in each forms the sixth foot), which 
seem to show that the initial a was not wholly forgotten in 
the Homeric time. The possessive eo9, in its relation to 09, 
is explained by Ahrens in a way which has been quite gene- 
rally received as probable. He assumes in the earlier period 
two forms, a fuller aepo^, and a shorter 0-^9 : from crei^o? 
came regularly the €09, from apo'i the 09 of our common text. 
This explanation is supported by the analogy of the posses- 
sive forms Te69 and 0-09 for the second person ; of which, in 
all probability, Teo9 is for t€f6<;, and 0-69 for Tr6<i. Now in 92 
instances of the pronoun eo9, there are 52 which do not allow 
an initial consonant, and it is therefore certain that in the 


Homeric time it generally began with a vowel. But there 
are 4 instances (A. 533, J- 420, 687, 6. 524) of remarkable 
hiatus in the first foot, after the first short of a dactyl {Zev^ 
he iop, %et/3a e/jv, o'iTe e/}'?), which seem to present traces of 
the primitive initial a. And moreover, this word makes hiatus 
14 times in the feminine caesura. We have seen that hiatus 
is readily allowed in that place ; but its relative frequency 
is so great in the case of this word (three times greater than 
in the analogous case of ifi6<i, ' my ') as to warrant the sus- 
picion that it arises from a peculiar cause, and is connected 
with the primitive initial a. Bekker writes the pronoun, 
wherever he can, with initial f : he appears to suppose that 
from Fo<i came eVJ? by a prefixed e, and then, by transposi- 
tion of digamma, Fe6<;. But such a transposition is a more 
hazardous assumption than he seems to think ; and the form 
j-co? has little support, either in the Homeric text or in the 
suggestions of comparative philology. 

It remains to speak of the pronoun e/cacrro?, ' each,' and 
the kindred adverb eKarepde, ' on each side : ' the pronoun 
eKuTepo^ itself is incapable of appearing in the heroic hexa- 
meter. The derivation of ixaTepo^ and e/cacrTO<i is as yet far 
from certain. It is probable, however, that the -Karepo^ and 
-KaaTo<i are a comparative and superlative form from the in- 
terrogative stem Ka — that they are, in fact, identical with the 
interrogatives irorepo^ and iroaro'i, which in their Ionic forms 
are Korepofi and K6<no<i. It is probable also that the first syl- 
lable € is the 'same as in the numeral CKarov, Lat. centiiin, Skt. 
qatam {i. e. katavi). If so, it is probably for ei/, the root of 
the numeral el?, ' one : ' thus, ki€ar6v^' ONE hundred,' €Kdr€po<; 
= ' ONE which-more, one which of two.' Here now we stum- 
ble again upon an uncertainty : but of all the explanations 
proposed for the numeral eU, ev, the most probable is that 
which connects it with Skt. sama, our Eng. same, Lat. semel^ 
simplex, singuli. It thus appears that cr may probably have 
been the primitive initial of iKdTepo<i, €KaaTo<;. We have 
already observed that, according to Ahrens's enumeration, 
€Ka(TTo<i occurs no times in the Iliad. Now 66 of these are 
cases of hiatus, some of them easily admissible, but many 
others giving strong indication of a consonant initial. It is 


not therefore surprising that Bekker should have written 
FeKaaTO<i and reKarepOe wherever the verse allows it. Out of 
28 unconformable cases, he makes ly conformable by various 
conjectures, several of which belong to the most hazardous 
that he has ventured. In 11 cases he has left the initial 
vowel untouched. Here the proportion of unconformable 
cases, 25 per cent., throws suspicion on the digamma, which 
is much increased by the fact that comparative philology has 
no plausible explanation for the forms i^e/care/oo?, FeKaarof;. 
Such forms as a€KdTepo<i and aiKacrro<i are much more proba- 
ble on grounds of comparative philology. Practically, then, 
the case as to €KaaTO<i stands in this way. It cannot well be 
doubted that the word, sometimes at least, began with a con- 
sonant in the Homeric language. If we assume that digam- 
ma is the only initial consonant of the Homeric language 
which has failed to appear in our text, then we must recog- 
nize a Homeric FeKa(no<; : such, doubtless, was the reasoning 
of Bekker. But the assumption is an unsafe one : there is 
reason for suspecting that other initial consonants of the 
Homeric language have had, though to a far less extent, the 
same fortune as digamma ; and in this particular word there 
is reason for suspecting that it began with some other conso- 
nant. Yet we would by no means advise either that the 
relative-stem should be written in Homer with initial y, or 
that eKaaTo<; and eo9 should be written with initial a. A lost 
digamma manifests itself in the Homeric verse in many words 
with much clearness, and with considerable approach to uni- 
formity : it may therefore with propriety be inserted in an 
edition having the character and aims of the one under re- 
view. But the case is widely different with a lost j and a 
lost o- : these, if we make the most of them, are only rare 
and doubtful. 

^ 1864. 

RHYTHM consists in a regular succession of times — of 
proportional times — so marked off and distinguished 
that the proportionality of the times and the regularity of 
their succession shall be obvious to human sense. These 
times may be marked by movements of the body, as in danc- 
ing ; by tones of various pitch and stress, as in music ; by 
the syllables of uttered words, as in poetry. We have here 
the three principal applications of rhythm, three^ principal 
domains in which rhythm manifests its nature and power — 
dancing, music, poetry. They were recognized as such by 
ancient writers, as arts which are all alike under the sway of 
rhythm, in which the same principles of rhythm find applica- 
tion and illustration. These principles do not require words 
for their manifestation ; they do not require even sounds : the 
silent art of orchestic has its arses and theses, its trochees and 
iambi, its dactyls and anapaests, not less truly than music and 
poetry. In fact, the name feet for rhythmic elements, arsis 
(raising of the foot), thesis (setting down of the foot), have 
primary reference to orchestic. It is apparent frogi these 
remarks that rhythm may be treated in two different ways. 
Its principles may be set forth in a general, abstract manner : 
not without illustrations drawn from the concrete forms of 
dancing, music, or poetry ; but in such a way as to give 
prominence to those abstract, general principles which per- 
tain alike to these three arts. The subject thus treated is a 
true and proper rhythmic. But, on the other hand, a writer 
may take up one of the arts in which rhythm manifests itself, 
making it his leading aim to set forth the forms of that art as 
they have been developed under the influence of rhythm. If 
poetry, for instance, is subjected to this process, the result 
will be a system of metric. Metric is a description, a scienti- 


fic description, of verse according to its rhythmical forms. 
Ancient literature had its works both of rhythmic and of me- 
tric, agreeably to the distinction which we have here traced 
Those on metric were the more numerous, and have been 
more largely preserved. - The most important is the 'Eyxjet- 
piScov, or Manual, of Hephaestion, a grammarian who is sup- 
posed to have flourished about the middle of the second 
century after our era. Unfortunately these metrical writers 
had only an imperfect conception of the work which they 
were taking on themselves. In treating of metric, it was their 
business to point out in a sj'-stematic way everything pertain- 
ing to the rhythmic enunciation or delivery of verse ; so that 
from a study of their writings one might form a distinct con- 
ception of the way in which an ode of Pindar or a chorus of 
Sophocles was actually intended to sound — I mean, as regards 
its rhythn\. To do this it was not enough to note the succes- 
sion of long and short syllables. It was necessary to mark 
also the rhythmic accent, and to distinguish a heavier accent 
from a lighter. It was necessary to note the cases in which 
rhythmic times were occupied by a prolongation of long 
syllables ; for we know that these were sometimes so far pro- 
longed as to become equal to three shorts, four shorts, or even 
five shorts. It was necessary to note the cases in which 
rhythmic times were occupied by pauses — intervals of silence, 
like the rests in music — for we know that such pauses were 
frequent, taking the time of one short, two shorts, three 
shorts, ^r even four shorts. It was necessary in treating of 
lyric compositions, such as Pindar's Odes, or the choruses of 
the dramatists, in which the verse changes from line to line, 
to point out the principles of symmetry and the laws of suc- 
cession by which these changes were doubtless regulated and 
controlled : for we have the strongest reason to believe that 
here, as everywhere else, the Greeks exercised their prodi- 
gious power of invention in subordination to very definite 
canons of taste and beauty. Now of all this we find very 
little in the ancient writers on metric. They confine them- 
selves, for the most part, to noting the succession of long and 
short syllables. It is true that they have something to say — 
though in a quite imperfect and unsatisfactory manner — on 


rhythmic accent, on thesis and arsis, the accented and unac- 
cented parts of the foot. ^ But beyond this they scarcely go. 
I may illustrate their deficiencies by a single instance. It is a 
fact that there were spondees in which each syllable had the 
length — not of two shorts, as usual — but of four. It is a fact 
known to us from other sources ; but in the writings on metric 
now extant there is no hint of it whatever. This imperfection 
in the works on metric is not hard to account for. Their 
writers were mere grammarians : they were much interested 
in syllables, and their long and short quantity — but they had 
not the theoretical and practical knowledge of music which 
was indispensable to the proper execution of their task. I 
say that a theoretical and practical acquaintance with music 
was essential to a proper treatment of the ancient metric. It 
is a very important circumstance, and one that should never 
be lost sight of, that the ancient poetry was much m'ore closely 
bound up with music than the modern. Even the simplest 
kinds of verse, the epic hexameter, the dramatic trimeter, 
were pronounced — they were intended to be pronounced — in 
a kind of recitative, a sort of semi-musical utterance, with 
musical accompaniment. But lyric compositions, such as the 
odes of Simonides and Timotheus, the choruses of^Eschylus 
and Euripides, were designed to be sung. The poet was a 
musician also ; his contemporaries were accustomed to think 
and speak of him as not only poet but musician. His musical 
characteristics formed an essential part of the critical judg- 
ment passed upon him by the public for whom he labored. 
The great variety and complexity of the rhythms which he 
used depends upon the fact that they were intended to be 
sung. Rhythmic structures so various and complex were not 
fitted for reading, and would never have been produced for 
it. They require musical utterance for the development and, 
appreciation of the rhythm. German translators have often 
overlooked this fact. Hartung endeavors to reproduce the 
metres of Pindar hne for line in his German version. It is 
impossible that an attempt so difficult and constraining should 
not operate disadvantageously on the force, aptness, and clear- 
ness of his translation. And what is the gain ? No one could 
give the German verses their intended rhythm without a care- 


ful and painful scrutiny of the annexed metrical scheme. And 
when all is done, when with much effort you can accent the 
heavy German lines on the right syllables, the rhythmical 
result is one which Pindar himself would never have regarded 
as legitimate or desirable. 

We may take yet another instance, an extreme case, to 
show how the writers on metric — some of them, at least — 
while counting longs and shorts, Could overlook the most 
obvious facts of rhythm. The so-called elegiac pentameter, 
which in the elegiac distich alternates with the dactylic hexa- 
meter, is in fact only a variety of the hexameter — a hexameter 
in which the third and sixth feet are reduced to a single 
syllable, the remaining times in those feet being made up 
by pauses. If we take the first line of the Iliad — MrjvLv aetSe, 
Bed, IlrjXTjldBeo) 'Ay^iXrio^ — and substitute a pause for the last 
half of the third and the sixth feet — Mrjviv deche, Bed, ° XrjldSea) 
'A')(^L\rj ° — we have the form of the elegiac pentameter. Or 
take the English distich which Coleridge translated from 
Schiller, but unluckily forgot to mention Schiller's name in 
connection with it : "In the hexameter rises the fountain's 
silvery column. In the pentameter aye falling in melody 
back." Here fill out in words the pauses of the second line, 
" In the pentameter aye it is falling in melody downwards," 
and you have a hexameter line, like the one before it. 
Hephsestion had the grace to see this : he has given a correct 
description of the so-called pentameter, which recognizes its 
true relation to the hexameter. But there were writers who 
gave it a different description, who made it consist of five 
feet, whence the false name of pentameter — five feet, of which 
the first two were either dactyls or spondees, the third always 
a spondee, and the fourth and fifth anapaests. Such a de- 
scription answers certainly to the succession of long and short 
syllables in this verse ; but it utterly fails to give an intelligible 
conception of its rhythm. 

But beside the ancient writers on metric, there were others 
who treated of rhythmic, according to the distinction before 
drawn between these terms. Unfortunately the works on 
rhythmic seem to have been much less numerous than those 
on metric, and the remains of them which have come down 


to us are exceedingly scanty. In these, nearly everything 
of any value has come directly or indirectly from a single 
author, from Aristoxenus of Tarentum. This eminent phi- 
losopher was a pupil of Aristotle, and after the death of the 
master aspired to lead the school of his followers, but Theo- 
phrastus of Lesbos was preferred before him for this station. 
He wrote on many subjects, but especially on music and the 
arts connected with it. Among his works of this class was 
one entitled ' RvdyLiKa aroi^ela, ' Rhythmic Elements,' in 
which he drew out for the first time in scientific form the 
principles of rhythm which were embodied in the music and 
poetry of his countrymen. If this work were preserved in its 
entireness, we should doubtless have a systematic and tole- 
rably adequate conception of the ancient rhythms. But we 
have in fact only fragments — one large fragment and a num- 
ber of small ones. The large fragment was found in a Vatican 
manuscript containing works or parts of works on musical 
subjects. It was first published by Morelli at Venice in 1785, 
and recently by Westphal in his Fragmejite und Lehrs'dtze der 
Griechischefi Rkythmiker {\^Q'\^z\g, 1 861). As printed by the 
latter, it amounts to about 270 lines : it formed the beginning 
of the second book in the work of Aristoxenus. Of the 
smaller fragments, several come from a little tract, irpoXafi- 
^avofieva eh tt]v pvdfiCKrjv eTrumjfirjv, by Michael Psellus, a 
Byzantine writer of the tenth century ; and others from an 
anonymous manuscript in the Royal Library at Paris. Next 
in importance to these remains of Aristoxenus, but next at a 
great interval, is a work of Aristides Ouintilianus, who seems 
to have been a thinker of the revived Pythagorean school, 
and probably lived in the century before Constantine. His 
work may be called an Encyclopaedia of the Musical Arts. In 
the first of its three books he treats of Harmonic, Rhythmic, 
and Metric ; in the second he discusses the influence of mu- 
sical art upon the soul ; in the third he sets forth the numeral 
relations which subsist among the tones of the nn^sical scale 
— the numbers which express the ratios of the vibrations by 
which the tones are produced — and then proceeds, after the 
Pythagorean fashion, to show the cosmical significance of 
these numbers. The rhythmic, it will be seen, forms only 


part of one book, though the second book contains an impor- 
tant passage on the different r]Qo<^ or character (pathetic, ani- 
mating, terrifying, etc.) of different rhythms. But even if we 
include this passage, the rhythmic of Aristides, as printed in 
Westphal's collection just referred to, contains less than four 
hundred lines : it is curt and meagre, and altogether insuffi- 
cient to give any satisfactory conception of the subject. In 
parts of this brief sketch, Aristides has relied on Aristoxenus, 
or perhaps on a writer who drew his materials from Aristox- 
enus, so that what we find here represents the Aristoxenian 
theory of rhythm ; but in other parts he evidently follows a 
different, and far inferior, authority. This mixture of different 
authorities and views adds greatly to the difficulties which 
attend the interpretation of Aristides. Besides Aristoxenus 
and Aristides, Westphal's collection contains a few pages' of 
fragments drawn from other sources, mostly anonymous. 
■ The student of ancient rhythmic is not oppressed by the 
extent of his authorities. It would be no extraordinary feat 
for him to commit to memory every line of the texts which 
he has to work upon. It is only of late that the importance 
of studying these texts has come to be recognized. It has 
been the prevailing impression of scholars that, in order to 
understand the rhythm of Greek poetry, it was enough for us 
to examine the extant remains of Greek poetry, being aided 
in the work by the old writers on metric, and guided at the 
same time by our own sense of rhythm. But it is coming to 
be understood that there is great uncertainty and hazard in 
thus applying our own notions of rhythm to the poetry of the 
Greeks. The sejise of rhythm is indeed common to all men. 
There are many forms and successions which all men would 
accept as rhythmical, many others which all would reject as 
unrhythmical : but there are some which are not so definitely 
marked, about which different men might differ as to their 
rhythmical character. And among forms acknowledged to be 
rhythmical;^ some men would prefer one, some another; the 
choice depending very much on fashion and education. Where 
a particular verse admits of different rhythmic constructions, 
we cannot assume it as certain that the one which seems pre- 
ferable to us would have seemed so to the Greeks. There 


are many particulars in which we can never know the actual 
rhythmus of Greek verses without an authentic statement 
from the Greeks themselves. I need not insist further on this 
point. It will become more apparent as we proceed. The 
first scholar who pointed out the importance of carefully 
studying the remains of Greek writers on rhythm was Bockh, 
in his Essay on the Metres of Pindar. In this study, how- 
ever, he did not himself proceed to any great extent. 

It is only about twelve years since two young scholars in 
Tiibingen, August Rossbach and Rudolf Westphal, set them- 
selves in earnest to the work. A volume, entitled GriccJiiscJie 
Rhythmik, appeared in 1854, written by Rossbach, but pre- 
senting the results of their united study. It was succeeded in 
1856 by a volume bearing the names of both scholars, the 
Griechische Metrik, in which the doctrines of rhythmic de- 
veloped in the former work were applied to the treatment of 
Greek metres. It appeared, however, that in the interv^al of 
two years which separated these works the views of the writers 
had undergone changes on various points, and some of con- 
siderable consequence — a circumstance not to be wondered 
at, when we consider the newness of the subject and the great 
difficulties which attend it. These volumes attracted much 
attention, and were generally regarded as containing new and 
important truth — though how much, few would undertake to 
decide. There were not many critics whose studies had fitted 
them to pass a comprehensive and independent judgment on 
works of this kind. But it is proper to except one or two 
.articles by H. Weil of Besan9on, who is known for an elabo- 
rate book on Latin accent, published by him and Benloew. 
The articles to which I refer appeared in Jahn's Ja/irbiicher, 
and contain valuable contributions to a knowledge of Greek 
rhythmic. In 1861, Westphal came out again with a volume 
entitled Die Fragmente und die Lehrsdtze der Griechischen 
RhytJimiker. It professes to be a supplement to the Greek 
Rhythmic of A. Rossbach. It is dedicated by the author to 
his former associate Rossbach, who seems to have withdrawn 
from these studies. The dedication speaks of numerous 
changes of opinion as having been the result of further research, 
and apologizes for the appearance which the new book has of 


being in no small degree a polemic against the old one. The 
work opens with an Introduction, on the sources from which 
a knowledge of^ Greek rhythmic is to be derived, the manu- 
scripts in which we find them, the books in which they have 
been printed, and the like. Then follow the texts themselves, 
occupying some fifty loosely-printed pages. But by far the 
largest part of the book consists of the Commentary on the 
Doctrines of the ancient Rhythmic Writers. This Com- 
mentary follows, not the order of the texts to be elucidated, 
but the natural arrangement of the subject : beginning with 
the general idea of rhythm ; proceeding thence to arsis and 
thesis in general, thence to kinds of feet, thence to extent of 
feet, and so on ; giving under each head the dicta of the 
rhythmic writers, and discussing, comparing, and illustrating 
their statements. Only a few weeks after Westphal's book 
was given to the public, there appeared another on the same 
subject, and on somewhat the same plan, by Julius Caesar, a 
scholar of long-established reputation. Its name is Die 
Grundzuge der GriechiscJien RJiytJunik, ini AnscJihiss an Arts- 
tides Quintilianus , erldiitert von Julius Ccesar. The Introduc- 
tion to this work contains a very thorough investigation of all 
that is or can be known concerning Aristides, with a view 
especially to determine the time when he lived and wrote. 
Then comes the text of Aristides — that part of it which re- 
lates to rhythmic — with careful statements of various readings. 
And then a long Commentary, in which particular points of 
rhythmic are taken up, one after another, and the statements 
of Aristides are discussed in comparison with those of other 
authorities. In these discussions Caesar is often led to notice 
and criticise the views expressed by Rossbach and Westphal 
in their Rhythmik und Metrik ; and his criticism, though in- 
tended to be respectful and courteous, is somewhat irritating 
in its tone. He assumes that they have been so biassed by 
their own preconceived notions of rhythm as to be unfitted for 
a fair understanding and appreciation of the texts on which they 
build. This tone is especially marked in the Preface and the 
Appendix ; these were written after the appearance of West- 
phal's Fraguiente und Lehrsdtze, and the last is taken up 
with a discussion of the various points in which they differ. 


One might suppose from Caesar's tone that there was a funda- 
mental difference between his views and those of Westphal. 
But upon looking more closely it would be found that on 
most of the main points they are agreed, and that the matters 
about which they disagree are generally of minor conse- 
quence. It is not strange perhaps %hat Westphal should have 
felt himself somewhat aggrieved by Caesar's criticisms ; but 
the way in which he shows his resentment is not altogether to 
be approved. He brought out last year (1863) a long-prom- 
ised work, a part of the same series with the. RhytJunik iind 
Metrik, viz. Hannonik und Melopoie der Griechen. To this 
he has prefixed a long preface of fifty pages, much of it taken 
up with one or two points on which he and Caesar are at issue. 
And it is somewhat curious, as a manifestation of feeling, that 
he everywhere suppresses the name of Caesar while combat- 
ing his views, although he is thus obliged to use some rather 
inconvenient circumlocutions. Just at the end, however, he 
does bring out the name, as if he had been reserving it to that 
place for a grand final explosion. To rebut this attack, Suse- 
mihl, who seems to have been a pupil of Caesar's, appears in 
Jahn's Jahrbucher for Dec. 1863, with an open letter to his 
master, in which he says that Westphal has carried on his 
polemic in such a way that Caesar's self-respect will hardly 
allow him to reply, and he (Susemihl) therefore takes up the 
cudgels for him. But if he is a partisan, he is a fair-minded 
one ; he concedes so much to his opponent that Caesar finds 
it necessary to append a lengthy note, protesting against the 
admissions of his friend, and fighting against his champion 
hardly less than against his enemy. 

Before taking up the principles of rhythmic, it may be well 
to notice some objections urged against this study, which 
Westphal states and answers in the Introduction to his Frag- 
mente und Lehrsatze. The first is, that the doctrine of the 
ancient rhythmists refers not so much to the rhythm of poetry 
as to that of music. Westphal's reply runs thus : " This error, 
which has arisen from the relation of our modern poetry to 
music, appears to have been shared even by Hermann, and to 
this day many philologians seem not to be wholly free from it. 
The relation of the poet to the musician in classic Greek was 


wholly different from what it is with us. It is true that the 
ancients also had an instrumental music separate from poetry ; 
but while this in modern times has been coming; more and 
more to be the crown of musical art, it was confined in anti- 
quity to the kitharistic and auletic nomes ; but the centre of 
gravity lay in vocal music^vith instrumental accompaniment, 
in melodized poetry. Was then, we ask, the rhythm which 
the ancient poet gave to Ms compositions different from the 
rhythm of the song ? In our time this is certainly the case. 
Our dramas are either designed to be declaimed throughout 
— and this is true of all which" make pretensions to any high 
poetic merit — or the drama takes the form of an opera, in 
which the music predominates with such unlimited ascend- 
ency that the text, with rare exceptions, is insignificant as 
poetry, and even the metrical form is indifferent, for the com- 
poser in general arranges his rhythms (bars in music) without 
reference to the number of verse-feet, and in the religious 
opera frequently makes use of an unmetrical prose text. Such, 
too, is the procedure of a musician when he melodizes a lyric 
poem which he finds ready to his hand, a poem written with- 
out reference to musical composition. Very different was the 
case in classic Greece. Excepting the Epos and a few other 
species, every poem was expressly intended, in whole or in 
part, for musical performance. To write a lyric poem for 
mere reading or declamation was, with few exceptions, an 
unknown effort of poetic art, and every drama (as Aris- 
totle says) contains the /LteX,ft)Sia as an essential element, as 
fjueyiaTov rjSvo-fiaTwv. 'Not only choral songs and monodies, 
but also parts of the dialogue were sung, and even when the 
iambic trimeter of tragedy was spoken, it was delivered in a 
melodramatic way, z. e. with instrumental accompaniment. 
To this we must add that poet and composer were united in 
one person. In the great lyric and dramatic authors of 
Greece we are wont to see poets merely, but in antiquity 
they were no less esteemed as the Coryphaei of music. When 
Aristoxenus, the great musical art-theorist, protests against 
the overloading of music with affected ornament, a style 
which had been introduced by Philoxenus and Timotheus, 
and which threatened a general corruption of taste, he refers 


to the representatives of the good classical style as models for 
imitation, naming as such Pindar and Pratinas : 'Whoever' 
(he says) ' has in his youth earnestly and zealously studied 
the /ie'\77 and Kpoutiara, the melodies and instrumentations of 
these masters, will remain ever after secure from many aber- 
rations, even if he should apply himself to the complex and 
ornate ttolkiXt} jjlovctik/] of Philoxenus' (Plut. Mus. 31). If 
Aristoxenus would show that the noble simplicity of classical 
music was conscious and intentional, and by no means founded 
in a defective knowledge of the resources of art (ou 8t' dyvoiav 
aXXa Sia Trpoaipsaiv), he refers to the compositions of iCschylus 
and Phrynichus, who were well acquainted with the chromatic 
treatment of the keys, but never applied it in their tragedies 
(Plut. Mus. 20). So, too, Sophocles was a composer: Aris- 
toxenus calls him the first Athenian who introduced the 
Lydian mode in iSia aafiaTa, i. e. in monodies and threnes, 
after the fashion of the dithyrambic poets (Vit. Sophocl. fin.): 
and of later tragic poets we know that they were active as 
musical artists — as of Agathon, who took up the chromatic 
keys, which his predecessors had declined to use. The lyric 
and dramatic poets of the classical time were therefore the 
composers of their own yibo). Why now do these poets 
apply to the metrical form of their chorcd songs and dramatic 
monodies a degree of care so extraordinarily great ? Why do 
they constantly appear in this field as original artists, never 
once repeating a strophic form, whether used by themselves 
or by any of their predecessors ? For reading or declamation 
their /ieXi; were not intended, but for musical performance. 
Why then — we repeat the question — hjive they taken so much 
pains with the metrical form of the Xe^t? ? The answer can be 
none but this : the rhythm given by the metres of the words 
was the same which appeared in the musical delivery, the 
same which the audience were to hear in the performance of 
the poem. 

" It is true then that the writers on rhythm have especially in 
view the rhythm of the song, but this is identical with the 
rhythm of the metre, as manifested by the words. In a time like 
ours, when poetry and music are two independent arts, it may 
happen that a composer like Beethoven, in melodizing three 


similar verses of five feet, should make three bars out of the 
first, two out of the second, and again three out of the third 
(we refer to the song Einsarn wandelt dcin Freund im 
Fruhhngsgarteii). Beethoven takes a song which a poet be- 
fore him had composed in a traditional metre, simply for 
reading or recitation, without any reference to melodizing, 
and in the treatment of this metre he proceeds with perfect 
freedom. Only in this respect does the composer attach him- 
self to the poet, that the strong part in every musical bar 
coincides with an accented syllable in the poem, though it is 
not true conversely that every accented syllable of the poem 
appears in the melody as the strong part of a bar ; in refer- 
ence to the weak part of his bars the composer pays no atten- 
tion to the poet. So stands the case with modern rhythmic. 
But in classical antiquity, where the poet himself was always 
composer, where he worked out his artfully constructed 
metres only with a view to musical performance, every metri- 
cal arsis is also an arsis in the melody, every metrical thesis a 
thesis in the melody, and as many feet as belong to the verse, 
so many bars belong to the musical period. We repeat, then : 
The tradition of the writers on rhythm relates indeed to the 
rhythm of the melody, but the rhythm of the melody is iden- 
tical with the rhythm of the text. Hence it is that the feet 
and kinds of feet of which these writers speak take their 
names from the feet of the metre {^kvo<i ZaKrvXiKov, iafi^LKov, 
TTUiuiviKov, rpo'xalo'; aX.0709, etc.) ; and moreover, when the 
rhythmic writers wish to illustrate the form of a rhythm or a 
rhythmic series, they always take their examples from metric. 
Never does it apf>ear that any rhythmic form of which they 
speak finds no application to poetry : even the pcson epibatus, 
which had its principal application in mere instrumental mu- 
sic, seems, in the earlier time at least, to have been used also 
as a foot in poetry." 

I have made this long quotation from Westphal, because 
the views contained in it, if not altogether novel, are very, 
justly and forcibly expressed, and are important to be recog- 
nized and understood. A second objection brought against 
this study is that the system of the ancient rhythmists had a 
theoretical rather than a practical character, that it consisted 


more of speculations than of facts, that it was not so much a 
description of actual usage as a series of ideal principles and 
categories. " If this were so, the rhythm which Aristoxenus 
talks about might not be identical with that of the ancient 
poets : Aristoxenus would stand on much the same level with 
Hermann and Apel." In reply to this objection, Westphal 
traces the procedure of Aristoxenus from point to point, 
and shows that it is purely empirical ; "he states facts, 
one after another, and states them simply as facts ; he seeks 
appropriate definitions for current expressions of musical 
art ; and beyond this he aims only to bring the facts designa- 
ted by those expressions into an intelligible order, and to show 
that they are justified by some principle or analogy'." 

But there remains a third objection ; that the writers on 
rhythm lived and wrote when art was in its decline, and may 
therefore be supposed to represent, not the true classic usage, 
but that of degenerate times and inferior artists. In regard 
to this, I quote again at some length from Westphal : 
" Aristoxenus stands on the border of the classic period : his 
father might have seen Socrates, Epaminondas, and other 
men of classic Greece ; but he himself belongs to a later gen- 
eration. He resided in Corinth at the time when the younger 
Dionysius lived there as an exile ; of professed musical ar- 
tists he was particularly acquainted only with Telestes, the 
dithyrambic composer, whom he met in his wanderings 
through Italy. Afterwards he came into connection with 
Aristotle, and after his death aspired to be his successor in 
the Lyceum. This in truth was no longer the time of classic 
life : it was a period when the creative spirit in rhythmic had 
died out, when men like Chaeremon and Theodectes held the 
first rank in tragedy. But amid this corruption of ancient 
art, Aristoxenus took a very peculiar place. Trained in the 
conservative school of the Pythagoreans, he had early im- 
bibed a predilection for the norms of ancient art, and this 
partiality for the old showed itself through his whole life, in 
an opposition to the tendencies of contemporary art. He 
appears in his works as an admirer of the art-style represented 
by Pratinas, Pindar, Simonides, Phrjnichus, and ^schylus ; 
in this style he recognizes the proper T]do<i (art-character) 


(Plut. Mus. 31 and 20) ; even Euripides and Sophocles are not 
named by him ; while against the dithyrambic composers 
Timotheus and Telestes, and their modern style, he com- 
mences an exasperated strife. The good old time — that was 
for him the time when art reached its greatest height, when 
choral melody was in its bloom, when musical art had its 
genuine ^^09 and truly served for TratSeia : but 7W7V was the 
time of aKTjvLKr} /juovctlk^, of exaggerated and affected stage- 
airs and concert- solos, T/ien the iroLKCkla pvOjJUKrj had a 
meaning, the artists were ^CkoppvOfioL : but now all rjdo<^ was 
lost in the rhythms of the KeKXaa-fieva /xeXr]. His stand-point is 
most clearly exhibited in the work called avfifiiKra avixTroTiKa, 
(Ath. 14.632). In these colloquies,- which he held with friends 
and pupils on matters of musical art and afterwards gave to the 
public, he begins by referring to the people of Posidonia in 
Italy, who among Tyrrhenian and Latin neighbors had grad- 
ually become barbarians, forgetting their Hellenic customs 
and language, and even thefr very name ; but on one day of 
every year they held a feast in commemoration of the old 
Greek time, now passed and gone, and broke up their assem- 
bly with tears and lamentations. ' So will we also do,' says 
Aristoxenus : * while the theatre is sinking more and more 
into barbarism, and musical art is suing only for the favor of 
the multitude and hastening on to its ruin, in our own little 
circle we will remember the ancient fiovcnKi].' And so he con- 
versed with his scholars on the drjXvvofiivr) fiovaiKi] of the con- 
temporary theatre (Themist. Or. 33, p. 364), and to the tasteless 
compositions of Philoxenus and Timotheus opposed the 
norms of classic art as represented by Pindar and Pratinas. 
. . . From this oppositional stand-point, which Aristoxenus 
holds toward the musical art of his own time, like the battle 
waged by Aristophanes against the monodies of Euripides 
and the new dithyramb -writers of Athens, it follows, of course, 
that the rhythmical doctrines of Aristoxenus are drawn from 
the norms which are fundamental to the classical rhythmic 
of Pindar, Simonides, ^schylus ; they are derived by ab- 
straction from the compositions of those great masters. In a 
word, the rhythmical doctrines which Aristoxenus presents 
to us are the same that were followed by the classical poets 


of Greece. Yet, on the other hand, it would not be correct 
to assume that the doctrines of Aristoxenus apply only to 
*the times of vEschylus and Pindar, and are inapplicable to the 
rhythmic of later times, as that of Euripides. Widely as the 
rhythmopoeia of .^schylus differs from that of Euripides, and 
the rhythmopoeia of Pindar from that of Philoxenus, in 
particular forms and combinations, the fundamental principles 
of rhythmic — as regards kind of feet, extent of feet, division 
of feet, composition of feet, change of feet, etc. — are the same 
for both periods of musical art ; they remained without 
change from the time of Alcman and Stesichorus to that of 
the Romans. Now it is just these fundamental principles 
which we learn from the rhythmic writers ; into the detailed de- 
scription of art-forms in rhythmopoeia (rhythmic composition) 
they have not entered. And thus no well-informed scholar 
would think of constructing a complete metric from the doc- 
trines of the rhythmists : for this purpose we must have re- 
course to the old writers on metric, and above all to the old 
poets themselves ; but no system of metric can have a sure 
foundation unless it bases itself on those fundamental doc- 
trines of the rhythmists. Unhappily, of these fundamental 
doctrines we are far from knowing all, for only a \^ry scanty 
portion of the rhythmical literature of the ancients has been 
preserved to us ; but what we have received is absolutely in- 
valuable, and sheds clear light upon the darkest points." 

We proceed now to consider some elementary facts and 
principles of rhythmic as set forth in these remains of 
ancient rhythmic. And we begin with arsis and thesis. As 
rhythm consists in a regular succession of proportional 
times, it is necessary that the successive times should be so 
marked off and distinguished that their proportionality and 
regularity shall be made clearly perceptible. This is accom- 
plished by a greater intensity of action falling upon particular 
moments, and distinguishing them from the intermediate mo- 
ments of weaker action. It is by alternate intension and re- 
mission of effort that rhythm is made obvious to our senses. 
The portion of time thus marked off by an intension and a re- 
mission of effort is a rhythmic foot. It divides itself, of 
course, into two parts, one of them being the time of inten- 


sion, the other that of remission. To these two parts of the 
foot were given the names of arsis and thesis. The names, as 
we have already seen, connect themselves with the dance : the 
dkai^ was the setting down of the foot, and the apci<i was the 
raising of it up. They are appropriate also to the practice of 
beating time, whether with the foot or with the hand : the 
Okav^ corresponded to the downward beat, the ap(n<^ to the 
upward. But the downward movement was stronger than 
the upward, the force of gravity being an addition to the for- 
mer, and a subtraction from the latter. Hence, when these 
times were applied to musical and metrical feet, the name 
thesis was used for the stronger part of the foot, that which 
was distinguished by the intension of voice or instrument, and 
the name arsis for the weaker part, that which showed a re- 
mission of voice or instrument. In dancing to the sound of 
music, there was a Qk(n<i of the dancer's foot on the accented 
part, and an apa-L<i on the unaccented part, of the musical foot 
or bar. In beating time to poetry, when sung or recited, 
there was a Oeai<i, or downward beat, on the accented part, an 
dpai^, or upward beat, on the unaccented part, of the metri- 
cal foot. This is unquestionably the proper use of the terms 
arsis and thesis : it is the only use among the extant Greek 
writers on rhythmic and metric, down to a very late period. 
But it is remarkable that the Latin writers on metric show a 
very different use. They employ arsis, or e/atio, for the first 
part of a foot, and thesis, ox positio, for the last part, without 
reference to the rhythmic accent. In an iambic foot the 
short syllable is arsis, the long thesis ; in a trochaic foot, the 
long syllable is arsis, the short thesis. The terms thus used are 
mere designations of place, and have no rhythmical significance. 
The singular accordance of the Latin writers in this misuse 
makes it probable that they have derived it from a common 
source, which would have to be placed as early as the second 
century after Christ. This source would seem to have been 
some Greek author on metric : I say some Greek author, for 
we find the same usage in late Byzantine writers, who 
would hardly have taken it from a Latin source. Wherever 
and whenever it arose, it was the result of ignorance and mis- 
apprehension. A writer who had heard or read that in the 


common dramatic trimeter the first part of each foot was call- 
ed arsis and the last part thesis, may have inferred that this 
was the case in all kinds of verse. Or he may have been 
misled by the circumstance that the writers on rhythmic, 
where they had occasion to speak of arsis and thesis together, 
always coupled them in this order — arsis and thesis. But what- 
ever the explanation, the mistake was a most unfortunate one. 
For the consequence is that the statements which we find in 
Latin sources as to arsis and thesis are almost wholly unin- 
structive ; they do not show us where the rhythmic accent fell. 
And even when they speak of the ictus or beat, the case is no 
better ; for these Latin metricians — who, it must be remem- 
bered, were not practical musicians — seem in their scanning 
of poetry to have beat time in the same way, raising the hand 
on the first part of the foot and lowering it on the second — 
thus, in anna viruniqiie , raising the hand for ar- and lower- 
ing it for -ma vi-. But the confusion in regard to arsis and 
thesis has become still greater in modern times. As the Latin 
metricians misunderstood the use of these terms in Greek me- 
tric, so Bentley, the first modern scholar who really applied 
himself to metrical studies, misunderstood the use of the 
Latin metricians: he took arsis for the accented part 
of the foot and thesis for the unaccented, thus exactly 
reversing the original and proper use. In this he has been 
followed by all scholars from his time to ours. Even Ross- 
bach, Westphal, and Caesar, while protesting against the pre- 
valent use of these terms, have felt themselves obliged to con- 
form to it. But Westphal, in his Fragmente und Lekrsdtse, 
has ventured to break loose from the bomls of custom, and 
return to primitive usage. In this, it seems to me, he has 
done well, and the example will doubtless be followed by 
other writers. But as our scholars are familiar with the Bent- 
leian use, of arsis for the accented part of the foot and thesis 
for the unaccented, so that statements in accordance with this 
use would be most readily understood, I shall adhere to it in 
the sequel of these remarks. 

The foot, then, consists of the arsis or accented part, and 
the thesis or unaccented part. The arsis, however, does not 
always precede the thesis, as in the bars of our modern music 


It would have been simpler and better, perhaps, if the foot had 
been constituted like the bar, so as always to commence 
with an accent : an unaccented syllable at the beginning of a 
verse could then have been treated as an anacrusis, introduc- 
tory to the proper rhythm. But the ancients regarded the 
proper rhythm, the verse foot, as commencing with the com- 
mencement of the verse, and hence constituted feet of thesis 
followed by arsis, as in iambic and anapaestic verses, not less 
than feet of arsis followed by thesis, as in trochaic and dac- 
tylic verses. The two components of the foot, the arsis and 
thesis, may have different ratios to each other. Thus, they 
may have a ratio of equality, as in the dactyl, the anapaest, 
the spondee, in which arsis and thesis divide the foot into 
equal halves ; or they may have a ratio of two to one — a 
diplasic ratio, as the ancients called it — as in the trochee and 
the iambics, where the long arsis has twice the length of the 
short thesis. It is obvious that these two ratios correspond to 
the two varieties of time in modern music : the equal ratio 
answers to our common time, and the diplasic ratio answers to 
our triple time. But ancient rhythm has another ratio, which 
is not recognized in the theory and the notation of modern 
music. Though much less frequent than either of the others, it 
is -still by no means rare. I refer to the heiniolic ratio, as 
the ancients call it, in which arsis and thesis are as i|- to i, or 
as 3 to 2, Thus, in the cretic foot, an arsis consisting of a 
long and short syllable is followed by a thesis consisting of a 
long ; in the first paeon, an equivalent of the cretic, an arsis 
consisting of a long and short is followed by a thesis consist- 
ing of two shorts. The hemiolic ratio appears in cretic and 
paeonic, as the equal ratio does in dactyl, anapaest, and spon- 
dee, and the diplasic ratio in iambus and trochee. Westphal 
asserts that in modern music the bar is sometimes divided 
into five equal parts, as in the hemiolic ratio ; and he gives as 
example of this rhythm the German popular song of Prince 
Eugene, the music of which he writes with the fractional pre- 
fix f . Beside these three ratios of arsis and thesis — the equal, 
diplasic, and hemiolic — Aristoxenus mentions two others : the 
triplasic, in which the two parts of the foot are as 3 to i , and 
the epitritic, in which they are as 3 to 4. He intimates, how- 


ever, that they differ widely from the preceding, not being used 
continuously in rhythmic composition. Their real character 
has been ingeniously divined and convincingly explained by 
Rossbach. I shall pass by the explanation for the present, 
and return to it further on. All other ratios between arsis 
and thesis, aside from those which have been mentioned, 
Aristoxerius sets aside as unrhythmical : they are too com- 
plex to be appreciated by our senses and enjoyed by our 

We proceed now to describe the rhythmic feet, according 
to the definitions of Aristoxenus, The shortest which he ad- 
mits consists of three short times. The pyrrhic, of two short 
times, is unsuited for rhythmical purposes ; the arses and theses 
would succeed each other with too much rapidity for distinct 
impression and agreeable effect. This reason would apply to 
a verse made up of pyrrhics in immediate succession. Whether 
Aristoxenus would disallow the occasional use of a single' 
pyrrhic — as the iEolian poets appear to use it in the opening 
of a logacfidic verse — is a point on which we have no express 
testimony. Laying this out of account, we have : 

First. The foot of 3 short times, trochee, iambus, or tri- 
brach. The ratio is diplasic, an arsis of 2 times, a thesis of 

T t O - 1 3 I ^ - 

I time. It corresponds to our f time : thus, — m m m . 

Second. The foot of 4 short times, dactyl, anapaest, spondee, 
proceleusmatic. The ratio is equal, an arsis of 2 times, a 

2 I i 
thesis of 2. It corresponds to our f time : thus, —0000. 

Third. The foot of 5 short times, cretic, first paeon, fourth 
paeon. The ratio is hemiolic, an arsis of 3 times, a thesis 

of 2. It may be represented by f time: thus. 


Fourth. The foot of 6 short times, ionic a majore, ionic a 
mincre, etc. The ratio is diplasic, an arsis of 4 times, a 

thesis of 2. It corresponds to our f time : thus, —000000 


But 6 short times admit of another rhythmic arrangement, 

6 ' ^ I N 

corresponding to our f time : thus, -000000. To this f 
we give the name of compound time, as it is made up of two 


I, one of which has a stronger accent than the other. This 
stronger accent dominates the whole bar, and makes it a 
unit, though a compound unit. In hke manner the cor- 
responding Greek foot is called by Aristoxenus a compound 
foot ; it is made up of two trochees, iambi, or tribrachs : /. e. 
it is a trochaic or iambic dipody. The ratio is equal, with 
one trochee or iambus for arsis, and one for thesis. Observe 
that the ratio of the whole compound foot is equal, though 
each of the two feet from which it is compounded has a di- 
plasic ratio. 

A foot of 7 short times would be unrhythmical, or at least 
unfitted for continuous composition. Dividing the 7 times 
between arsis and thesis, we should have 6 to i, or 5 to 2, or 
4 to 3, none of them ratios which Aristoxenus recognizes as 
fitted for continuous rhythmic composition. We come, then. 

Fifth. To the foot of 8 short times. This corresponds to 
our ^ time, a variety of compound time made up of two f : 

thus, — 00fp000 0. Here, then, we have another com- 
pound foot, a dactylic or anapaestic dipody. The ratio is 
equal, with one dactyl or anapaest a_s arsis, and one as thesis ; 
and here the simple feet themselves have the same ratio. 

Sixth. The foot of 9 short times. This corresponds to our 
f time, a variety of compound time made up of three f : 

thus, — 0^040000^. It is a compound foot, a trochaic or 

iambic tripody ; the ratio is diplasic, with two trochees or 
iambi for arsis and one for thesis. And the single feet them- 
selves of which the compound foot is made up have a similar 
diplasic ratio. 

Seventh. The foot of 10 short times. It maybe represented 

with our notation as J# time : thus, — 0040000000. It 

is a compound foot, a cretic or paeonic dipody ; the ratio is 
equal, with one paeon as arsis and one as thesis ; while the 
single feet themselves have the hemiolic ratio. 

A foot of II times would be unrhythmical, for the same 
reason as one of 7 times. You cannot divide the times 
between arsis and thesis so as to have a ratio that is rhyth- 


Eighth. The foot of 12 short times. This may be repre- 

sented with our notation by ^ : thus, —•• i f f d • f d f •■ 

This is the trochaic or iambic dimeter, a compound foot with 
equal ratio, one trochaic or iambic dipody for thesis, and one 
for arsis. But the 12 shorts may also take a form which we 

should write as f : thus, —0 f •. This is an 

ionic dipody, with equal ratio, one ionic foot for arsis and 
one for thesis. But yet again, the foot might be written 

thus : —0ff000000000. This is a dactylic or anapaestic 

tripody, with diplasic ratio, two dactyls or anapaests for arsis, 
and one for thesis. 

A foot of 13 short times is inadmissible, as not allowing 
any rhythmical ratio between arsis and thesis. One of 14 
short times might be divided in an equal ratio, as a com- 
pound foot with 7 times for arsis and 7 for thesis ; but the 
simple feet of 7 times each would themselves be unrhythmical, 
and the compound foot must therefore be unrhythmical also. 
We have, then, 

Ninth. The foot of 15 short times. This may be written 

thus •.—■000000000000000. it IS a cretic or paeonic 

tripody, a compound foot with diplasic ratio, two cretics or 
paeons for arsis, and one for thesis. But again we may write 

— 000000000000000. 1 his IS a trochaic or iambic 

pentapody with hemiolic ratio, three trochees or iambi for 
arsis and two for thesis. 

Tenth. The foot of 16 short times. This may be written 

8 I J I I I I I I 

-^f f f 0. It is a dactylic or anapaestic 

tetrapody, with equal ratio, having a dactylic or anapaestic 
dipody for arsis and another for thesis. According to Aris- 
toxenus, it is the longest foot with equal ratio, the longest 
foot in which arsis and thesis are equal to each other. 

A foot of 17 or of 19 times would allow no rhythmical ratio 
between arsis and thesis. But we have 

Eleventh. The foot of 18 short times. We may write it 


— *00000000000000d00. It IS a trochaic or lam- 


bic trimeter, with diplasic ratio, having two trochaic or iambic 
dipodies for arsis, and one for thesis. We cannot divide it in 
equal ratio, making it consist of two tripodies, one for arsis 
and one for thesis. For this would be contrary to the rule of 
Aristoxenus just mentioned. There is, however, another 
combination possible, which we may write after this fashion : 

— 00000000000000000 0. It IS an ionic tripody, 

with diplasic ratio, two ionic feet for arsis and one for thesis. 
According to Aristoxenus, the foot of i8 times is the longest 
foot with diplasic ratio, the longest in which arsis and thesis 
are as 2 to i. But the hemiolic ratio may extend, according 
to his express assertion', to the length of 25 short times. This 
gives us two additional feet, viz. : 

Twelfth. The foot of 20 short times. We may write it 

~ J • J • J • J • J • J • J ^ J • J • J'^,. It is a dactylic or 

anapaestic pentapody, in hemiolic ratio, with three dactyls or 
anapaests for arsis, and two for thesis. 

Thirteenth. The foot of 25 short times. We may write it 

?iJ./J,J./J.J..N.J./J.J./J.. Itisacretic 

8 I ! I i ' ! ; I I ^ { I ' I I I I I ; I I I I I 

or paeonic pentapody, in hemiolic ratio, with three cretics or 
pasons for arsis, and two for thesis. 

Of the feet just described, by far the greater part are com- 
pound. The foot of 3 times is simple, so that of 4 tirftes, 
that of 5 times, and the first of 6 times. But the second of 
6 times and all that follow it are compound, and are made up 
of two or more simple feet, each having its proper accent, 
though all under the power of one dominant and unify- 
ing accent. These compound feet are precisely analogous in 
rhythm to the varieties of compound time in our music, to 
4^ 1^ 1^ |. and y-. The only differences are, i. that the an- 
cients allowed ratios such as f, -i^, ^-, etc. , which are not defi- 
nitely recognized in modern theory, and are not found, at least 
with such notation, in our written music ; and, 2. that the an- 
cients gave to these compound feet a much greater extension 
than they have in modern praxis — an extension reaching in the 


equal ratio to |, in the diplasic to ^, and in the hemiolic to the 
seemingly enormous extent of --/. This great extent, however 
strange it might seem to us, in the musical bar, has evidently 
nothing impossible ; there would be nothing impossible in a 
bar of 16, 18, 20, or even 25 quavers under the dominion of one 
principal accent. And we are assured by the express testimony 
of Aristoxenus,a most competent witness, that ancient rhythm 
made use of feet in which 16, 18, 20, 25 short times were thus 
united under the dominion of one principal accent. 

I ought to say that the foot of 8 short times was not always 
a compound foot. It was sometimes a spondee — the <r7roi/8eto9 
yxitfjiVy or greater spondee, which I have already referred to — 
in which each long was equivalent to four shorts. In like 
manner there was a foot of three long syllables, in which each 
long had this same dimension of four shorts : this foot, when 
it had trochaic rhythm, was called trochcetis semantns, when it 
had iambic rhythm, it was called orthius. The trochiFus 
semantus and the orthius were feet of 12 short times, but 
still they were regarded as simple feet. In this connection we 
must notice also the paon epibatiis, or paeon of five long syl- 
lables, with hemiolic ratio, three longs for arsis and two for 
thesis. "WxQ p(Eon epibattis was a foot of 10 short times, but it 
was a simple foot. 

As regards the beating of the compound feet, we are told 
that, if the ratio was equal, the compound foot received two 
beats, one of which was doubtless given to the arsis and one 
to the thesis. If the ratio was diplasic, the compound foot 
received three beats, two of which were doubtless given to 
the arsis and one to the thesis. If the ratio was hemiolic, we 
should expect five beats for the compound foot, three for 
arsis and two for thesis ; but, singularly enough, we have it 
on express and undeniable testimony that these hemiolic feet 
received four beats instead of five. Simple feet of six short 
times or less received only two beats, whatever the ratio, 
whether equal, diplasic, or hemiolic ; the single trochee, dactyl, 
or cretic had two beats, one for the arsis and one for the thesis. 

The doctrine of the extended or compound feet is the most 
valuable piece of instruction which we gain from the remnants 
of the old' Greek rhythmic. Let us look at some of the con- 


elusions ■ which either flow from it directly, or may be in- 
ferred from it when combined with other statements and 
notices. We learn that the common iambic trimeter of the 
dramatic dialogue was a single foot, that it had one accent 
which was sensibly stronger than any other in it and made it a 
rhythmic unity. This is a fact which could never have been 
guessed at from the descriptions of the writers on metric. 
They represent the verse as consisting of three dipodies, but 
they say nothing which would suggest the idea that these 
three dipodies are of unequal weight, or connected as princi- 
pal and subordinate. But now Vv^e learn that one was stronger 
than either of the others. It is probable that the first dipody 
had the strongest accent, the second a weaker accent, and 
the third the weakest of all. But it is a question what part 
of the dipody received the accent, whether it fell upon the 
first or second iambus of the dipody. It was assumed by 
Bentley, without any attempt at proof, that it was the first 
iambus which was distinguished by the accent ; and the as- 
sumption has been tacitly accepted by all succeeding writers. 
But Westphal denies the correctness of the assumption. He 
maintains, not only that it is unproved, but that it is in con- 
flict with the express teaching of the ancient authorities. He 
concludes with undoubting confidence that the accent fell on 
the second iambus of the dipody : thus, w reKva Kd^/xov tov 
TTctXao via rpocf)!]. But Weil, reviewing his argument, shows 
that it rests on statements of Latin metricians, and that the 
misuse of these writers in reference to arsis and thesis (which 
we have before spoken of) deprives their statements of all 
authority. At the same time, he points out an expression of 
Aristides which implies pretty clearly (though nobody had 
noticed it before) that the iambic dipody was accented on the 
first foot. We are allowed, therefore, to go back to the 
rendering of the trimeter which since Bentley has been the 
usual one, and which is certainly far more consonant with our 
modern notions of rhythm, and to read w reKva KdSfiov tov 
irakaL via rpo^jj. 

But if the six feet of the dramatic trimeter form but one 
compound foot, the same cannot be true as to the six feet of 
the epic hexameter. For the six dactyls or spondees mak 


24 short times — which would have to be divided either in 
equal ratio, as 12 and 12, or in diplasic, as 16 and 8. But 
the longest foot with equal ratio has only 16 short times ; 
the longest with diplasic ratio only 18. The epic hexameter, 
then, is not under the dominion of one superior accent : it 
must consist of at least two parts, the principal accents of 
which are equal to each other. It appears certain, in fact, 
that it was made up of two compound feet, of 12 short times 
each, with diplasic ratio, having two dactyls for arsis and one 
for thesis. Which of the three dactyls in each division of the 
verse had the principal accent it is not so easy to determine. 
Westphal finds reason to believe that it was the third : he 

would give the opening line of the .^neid thus : Anna 

virumqjie cano TrojtE qui primus ab oris. But the conclusion 
seems to be far from certain. 

The dactylic tetrameter is doubtless a single foot of 16 
short times, the longest which the equal ratio admits of; and 
the dactylic octameter consists of two suCh feet So too the 
anapaestic dimeter is a single foot of 16 times, and the 
anapaestic tetrameter consists of two such feet. In like man- 
ner the iambic and trochaic tetrameters consist of two feet of 
12 times each, with equal ratio. But what shall we say of the 
trochaic tetrameter catalectic, of such a verse as iroKKa fiev 
f/ap CK OaXdaatj^, iroXXA 8' €/c -x^epaov KaKa ? If the first half of 
the line has its 12 short times, the second or catalectic part 
would seem to have but 11 : but Aristoxenus, as we have 
seen, rejects the foot of 11 shorts as being unrhythmical. 

The true answer doubtless is that the pause at the end of 
the line makes up for the deficient syllable, and supplies the 
one time which is wanting. The iambic tetrameter is also 
often catalectic, as in q> Be^icoTarov Kpia^ (TO(f)(o<i »ye 7rpowoi]a(o 
or w iraa-iv avOpayiroi^ '(f)avel^ fMiyicrrov a><fie\7]ua. Here the 
second compound foot, fieyiarov oxpeKrifia, or cro(^oi<i ye 
irpovvorjacd, appears to consist of 1 1 times, instead of 12. 
Shall we adopt here the same explanation as before, and as- 
sume that the deficiency was made up by a pause at the end 
of the verse ? The more probable explanation for this case 
is, that the last iambus has lost, not its second syllable, but 
its first ; that the short syllable of the last iambus is sup- 


pressed, and its time made up by prolonging the long sylla 
ble of the preceding iambus. In the hne just quoted, the 77 
of V07] would be equal to three short times, and vorjaw, having 
six short times, would be equivalent to an iambic dipody. 
We can now understand, in connection with this example, 
what Aristoxenus means when he speaks of a foot with tripla- 
sic ratio — i. e. a foot in which arsis and thesis are as 3 to i : 
such feet, he says, are used occasionally, though not in con- 
tinuous composition. The foot vor], just before the close of 
the catalectic verse, answers perfectly to this description. 
Its thesis is of one short time, its arsis of three. Its peculiar 
ratio arises from a special cause, its arsis being prolonged so 
as to occupy the time of a short thesis suppressed in the next 
foot. It has therefore an occasional character, differing in 
this respect from the ordinary iambus with diplasic ratio. 

It is well known that in the iambic trimeter, and in other 
iambic and trochaic verses, feet of 4 short times, spondees, 
dactyls, anapaests, are to some extent intermixed with the 
proper three-timed feet of these rhythms. How does the an- 
cient rhythmic regard these apparently unrhythmical inter- 
mixtures ? It partly acknowledges their unrhythmical char- 
acter. Aristoxenus says there are three varieties of times — 
the eppvOfiot or rhythmical, which have distinct and obvious 
ratios to each other ; the appvdjxoi, or unrhythmical, which 
have no intelligible or appreciable ratios ; and an intermediate 
class, the pvd/u,o€vS€t<;, or rhythm- like, the ratios of which are 
not indeed unintelligible, like the last, but are also not dis- 
tinct and obvious, like the first. There is no doubt that by 
the last term, the pvOfioeiSeh, he meant to designate such 
times as belong to spondees in' iambic or trochaic verse. A 
term more frequently applied to them is aXoyoc, ' irrational, 
without ratios,' z. e. without integral ratios. The ordinary long 
syllable is equal in time to two shorts : the ratio here is 2. A 
moment ago, we saw in the penult of a catalectic tetrameter 
a syllable which contained three short times : the ratio here is 
3. We have seen that there were certain spondees in which 
each long syllable was equivalent to 4 shorts : the ratio here 
is 4. These longs of two, three, or four times are all rational : 
their ratios to the short syllable taken as the unit of measure- 



ment are all expressed by integers. But if we should rind that, 
in a particular foot, a certain long syllable had the time of \\ 
shorts, such a long syllable would be irrational ; the number 
which expresses its ratio to the unit of measurement is not an 
integer, but a fraction. Now this is the case, according to 
explicit testimony, with one long syllable in the spondees of 
iambic and trochaic verses. The long arsis of those spondees 
has the usual length, that of two shorts, but the long thesis, 
we are told, was intermediate between one and two shorts ; 
in other words, it bore to the unit of measurement the 
fractional ratio of \\ \.o i. It was an irrational long; and 
the foot to which it belonged was irrational also, the whole 
length of the foot being expressed by a fractional designation, 
viz. 3^^ short times. The arsis and thesis of this irrational 
foot bear to each other the rafio of 4 to 3. And there can 
be no question that Aristoxenus refers to this foot, when he 
speaks of the epitritic ratio (4 to 3) in the same terms that he 
uses of the triplasic, as a ratio that does indeed occur, but 
not in foot after foot through a continuous rhythmic series. 
These irrational feet of the iambic and trochaic verses form 
one of the most remarkable features of ancient rhythmic. It 
is something which, to the same extent at least, does not 
occur in modern art. It is analogous to a ritardando move- 
ment, by which certain bars — or rather, certain parts of cer- 
tain bars — receive a length greater than the ruling tempo of 
the passage to which they belong. But the definiteness in 
the amount of retardation and in the places of its occurrence, 
and particularly the great frequency of its use, often three 
times in one trimeter verse, are circumstances which have 
no parallel in our music. 

In regard to the feet of which we have been speaking, 
their irrational character rests upon positive testimony. That 
there were other cases of irrationality is probable enough 
in itself, but they can only be determined by processes of 
inference which are more or less uncertain. In the dactylo- 
epitritic verses of Pindar, where dactyls are followed by 
epitrites, each epitrite consisting of a trochee and spondee, 
Westphal considers the trochees as equal in time to the 
dactyls and spondees with which they are associated. In 


that case, they would contain irrational times ; the long of 
the trochee would be f and its short ^ of the short time which 
serves as the unit of measurement ; while together they would 
make ^3^ or 4 short times, which is the normal length of the 
dactyls and spondees. But on the other hand, in logaoedic 
verses, which show dactyls mixed with trochees, Westphal 
regards the trochees as having rational times, and the dac- 
tyls irrational. To the long of the logacedic dactyl he gives 
the length of |, to its first short f, to its last short the ra- 
tional length I : the dactyl consists then of |-, f, i, making in 
all 3 times, which is the normal length of the trochees. To 
this measurement of the logaoedic dactyl Caesar strenuously 
objects : he makes the logacedic dactyl equal to a trochee, 
but divides it into \\, |, | — the long syllable \\ instead of 
two, and each short f instead of i. This difference of opinion 
has been the theme of some pretty acrimonious discussion ; 
but I cannot enter here into the merits of the quarrel. 

I have already pointed out a long syllable of three times as 
occurring in the penult of catalectic trimeters. I may now 
say that the ancient rhythmic recognizes also a long syllable 
of four times (this, too, we have had occasion to notice) ; and 
even a long syllable of five times, equal to a whole cretic or 
paeonic foot. It is often matter of doubt whether we are to 
recognize such a lengthened long, or whether we are to as- 
sume a pause of one, two, three, or fouf times. Such vacant 
times, KevoX 'x^povoi, are fully recognized in the theory of an- 
cient rhythmic. Thus, in the so-called elegiac pentameter, 
ala')(yi>7j Be (^I'Xot? 'qn.erepoL'i iyevov, where the one syllable Xot? 
takes the place of a dactyl, we might question whether Xot? 
was actually prolonged to a length of 4 times, or whether it 
had its usual length, but was followed by a pause of two 
short times. In this case we have ancient testimony show- 
ing that the syllable was not prolonged, but that a pause was 
made after it. But if times are wanting in the middle of a 
word, as often happens, we may safely assume that they were 
made up, not by a pause, which could hardly be tolerated in 
such a place, but by the prolongation of a long syllable to 
three, four, or five times. The recognition of deficient times, 
which were made up in one way or the other, by a pause or 


by the prolongation of a long syllable, has put a new face on 
ancient metres. It is perhaps the most important peculiarity 
in the work of Rossbach and Westphal on Greek metric. In 
the little metric at the end of my Greek grammar I have 
adopted it from them, with the name of syncope, which they 
had given it. Its effect in giving simplicity and unity to 
many things which before appeared unconnected and un- 
meaning may be shown by a brief illustration. In looking 
over the index of metres to President Woolsey's Electra, I 
find -five different names given to what I should regard as 
syncopated forms of the iambic trimeter : i. Antispast and 
iambic penthemimeris ; 2. Two iambic penthemimeres ; 3. 
Iambic penthemimeris and iambic tripody ; 4. Iambic dime- 
ter hypercatalectic ; 5. Iambic dipody and ithyphallic* By 
looking over the indexes to other plays, I have no doubt 
that I could have increased this number. It is evident that 
these names, beside their number, fail most of them to sug- 
gest any clear idea of a rhythmical unity. But if in all these 
various and strange-looking lines we can truly recognize vari- 
ous forms of the iambic trimeter, we have certainly made a 
great and most satisfactory advance in our understanding of 
their rhythmus. 





EVERY Greek word of two or more syllables had one 
syllable which was sounded on a higher key than the 
rest of the word : thus, \v in \e\vicotpii, k6 in XeXvKevat, /co? in 
XeXvKO'i. For a long time, the Greeks in writing their lan- 
guage made no attempt to distinguish the syllable which was 
thus sounded on a higher key : they aimed to represent the 
substance of their sounds, the different articulations, but not 
their relative pitch. It was not until the development of 
grammatical study, in the Al^andrian period, that the gram- 
marian Aristophanes of Byzantium, about 200 years before 
our era, invented a sign for this purpose. Over the vowel 
which was sounded on a higher key he placed a wedge-like 
mark, sloping downward to the left, which was called rj o^ela 
Trpo^qySia, 'sharp accent,' 'acute accent.' But it often hap- 
pened, in the utterance of a long vowel or diphthong, that 
the higher key with which the word began was not maintained 
to the end ; that, after pronouncing the first part on a higher 
key, the voice dropped down to a lower, and on this pro- 
nounced the last part of the long sound. For such cases 
Aristophanes introduced a compound sign ; representing the 
higher key as before, he added, to represent the lower key, a 
similar mark, but sloping downward to the right. The roof 
formed by the joining of the two marks was rounded off in 
writing, and the whole sign was called 77 TrepKnrcofjLevr) 7rpo<?a)B:a, 
' twist^'H accent,' 'circumflex accent.' The ordinary lower 
key was not generally represented by any distinctive mark : 
if the vowel of a syllable had no mark of higher pitch written 
above it, this was a sufficient indication of its lower pitch. 
And, indeed, there was nothing in this lower pitch that called 
for designation. The essential fact to be recognized and 


made evident in the writing was not that some syllables were 
lower than the rest : it was that some were higher than the 
rest ; or rather, that one syllable in each word was made con- 
spicuous and important above all others by the higher key on 
which it was sounded. Yet there were two cases in which 
the lower pitch was represented in writing. One of these 
has just been noticed — when the lower pitch followed the 
higher in the same syllable, in the same long vowel-sound. 
The circumflex accent used for such a syllable consisted of 
two marks, a first representing the higher, and a second 
representing the lower pitch. The other case relates to 
oxytone words, where the higher pitch comes at the end of 
the word and belongs to the last syllable : 070^09, (rrpaTrpfof;. 
If such a word is followed by other words in immediate gram- 
matical connection, the higher pitch of its last syllable changes 
to a lower one, as in ayado^ cnpaTTjyo^ eyevero. Here now, 
on the last syllable of an oxytone word, when in the connec- 
tion of discourse its higher pitch changes to a lower, the 
lower pitch is represented in writing, and represented in the 
same way as in the latter part of the circumflex accent : that 
is, by a mark sloping downward to the right, and called fj 
fiapela 7rpo<ia>hia, 'heavy accent,' 'grave accent.' Aside, 
then, from these two cases, the ordinary lower pitch is always 
left without designation. 

In this description of the Greek accent,. it has been taken 
for granted that there was an actual regular difference of pitch 
between different syllables of a word, and that the proper use 
of the written accent was to represent that difference. The 
correctness of this assumption is implied in the very names 
of the accents. The words 6fu9, * sharp,' and ^apvs, ' heavy,' 
are the ordinary words used in Greek music for what we in 
our music call * high ' and ' low.' They are not used to de- 
note difference in stress, or strength of utterance. We might 
find it natural that o^v?, * sharp,' should be applied to a sylla- 
ble which was pronounced with marked stress ; but it would 
be strange if /Sapu?, ' heavy,' was used of syllables pronounced 
without stress, the weaker or lighter syllables of a word. 
The term irpo^rpSla itself, as well as the Latin acccntiis, which 
is used to translate it, comes from a root which means ' to 


sing ; ' and in explaining the name, the ancient grammarians, 
both Greek and Latin, tell us that it is a singing of the syllable. 
There is a remarkable passage in a work of Dionysius of 
Halicarnassus (rtV Coinp. Verb., ii), in which he compares 
the melody of speech with that of song. The melody of 
spoken language, he tells us, is measured by^a single interval, 
the so-called fifth, or, as he explains it immediately after, the 
interval of three tones and a semitone. He says that when 
the voice rises to the acute, it does not go higher than this 
interval ; and when it falls off again to the grave, it does not 
sink lower than this interval. He adds that the two intona- 
tions, the acute and the grave, may be combined in the same 
syllable, and that such syllables are said to be cirCumflexed. 
It is perfectly evident that he is here speaking of the accent, 
that he describes it as a difference of pitch, and that he makes 
this difference about the same as the musical interval of a fifth, 
that is (as he himself says), three tones and a semitone. All 
this is pretty clear ; but it is made still clearer by the con- 
trasted description of music, which comes directly after it. 
Music, whether vocal or instrumental, uses a number of inter- 
vals, and does not confine itself to the fifth alone (these are 
his own words) ; but employs, for purposes of melody, 
first the octave (this being first named, as the most important 
interval), and the fifth, and the fourth, and the full tone, and 
the semitone, and, as some think, even the quarter-tone (the 
chromatic diesis), so as to be distinctly perceived. Further, 
he says, music claims tlie right to subordinate the words to 
the tune, instead of having the tune subordinate to the words ; 
by which he means that it is the right of the musician to sing 
the words to any tune he pleases, ' without reference to the 
natural tune (if we may call it so) which by the accent they 
have in spoken utterance. That this is his meaning becomes 
abundantly evident from a subjoined illustration. He quotes 
two or three lines from a chorus of Euripides, and points out 
at some length how the natural tune or accent of the words 
was wholly disregarded in the music to which they were sung. 
Thus, the first word, o-r/tt, is sung upon a monotone, both 
syllables on the same pitch, though the spoken word had two 
tones, the acute and the grave, and indeed both of them com- 


bined in the circumflex accent of its first syllable. In another 
word, ap^vKt]^, which had the acute on the second syllable, 
the music gave both second and third syllables the same pitch, 
though in a spoken word the higher pitch of the acute accent 
was never maintained through two successive syllables. In 
TiOere, the natural tune of the word, a high sound followed 
by two low ones, was completely reversed by the music, the 
first syllable being sung to a lower note and the last two syl- 
lables to a higher note. In KTVTreiTe, the circumflex of the 
second syllable, with its combination of acute and grave, was 
lost in the music, that syllable being sung upon a single note. 
And in aTroTrpoySare, a word of five syllables with acute accent 
on the middle one, the higher intonation, which belonged to 
the Trpo, was in the music transferred to the ^d. These are 
tlie illustrations and explanations given by Dionysius himself, 
whose authority on such a subject must be very high from his 
intelligence and learning, as also from his date, in the first 
century before our era. This passage alone, if there were 
nothing else to confirm it, would leave no doubt as to the 
melodic character of the Greek accent. 

But is it not possible that this elevation of pitch, which 
characterized the accented syllable, was accompanied by an 
increased effort of the vocal organs, by a greater stress of . 
pronunciation, such as marks the accented syllable in our own 
language and in other languages of modern Europe ? It is 
possible, certainly ; but there is scarcely any evidence to 
prove it true. In all that the ancient grammarians and other 
ancient writers have left us on the Greek accent — and the 
aggregate is far from inconsiderable — there seems to be no 
statement or expression which implies that the accented sylla- 
ble was pronounced with more force than the rest of the 
word. No such implication can be found in the remarkable 
passage just referred to, where Dionysius speaks of the mel- 
ody of spoken language. We might perhaps expect to find 
it rather in a following section, where his subject is the rhythm 
of spoken language. But nothing of the kind appears there. 
In speaking of rhythm, he refers to quantity of syllables, to 
the succession of longs and shorts ; and he remarks that com- 
m©n speech, the utterance of prose, does no violence to these, 


but keeps the syllables long and short according to their 
received or natural quantity. But music, which disregards 
the natural tune of words, disregards likewise their natural 
rhythm ; it changes (so he says) the length of the syllables, 
increasing or diminishing their quantity, and occasionally even 
reversing the natural proportions ; for (h^adds), instead of 
making its own musical times subordinate to the natural 
quantity of the syllables, it makes the quantity of the sylla- 
bles subordinate to the times of the music. In all this, there 
is no hint that any one syllable of a word was regularly dis- 
tinguished from the others by its more forcible enunciation. 
Gottling, who believes that the accented syllable was actually 
pronounced with greater stress, can only refer in support of 
his belief to the modern Phavorinus. The silence of the an- 
cient authorities may not prove that there was absolutely no 
difference in stress between accented and unaccented syllables ; 
but it certainly warrants the conclusion that the difference, if 
there was any, cannot have been great or striking : it must 
have been far slighter than in English or in modern Greek. 
The grand fact about the accented syllable, to the mind of the 
ancients, was its higher pitch ; its greater stress, if it had any, 
was either not noticed by them, or was felt to be compara- 
tively unimportant. 

The same conclusion — that the stress of voice on the ac- 
cented syllable was little, if at all, greater than on other syllables 
— may be supported by probabilities resting on other grounds. 
It is the natural effect of a decided stress- accent to weaken 
the following syllables of the word, and especially the one 
which immediately follows the accent, so that the vowel of 
that syllable is apt to be shortened or to be omitted alto- 
gether. In our own language, this tendency may be seen in 
the short e of mystery as compared with the long sound in 
mysterious, and in the suppressed e of every, wond{c)rous. 
In Greek such changes are confined to a few words, as TtTrre 
in Homer for rt ttotc, r)\dov for earlier rfkvdov. They are 
perhaps hardly more numerous than the cases Avhere an ac- 
cented vowel has disappeared : cases like duyaTpe<; in Homer 
for 0DyaTep€<}, ^rjv for e^rjv, etc. So far from being disposed to 
shorten the vowel which follows the accented syllable, the 


Greek shows rather a predilection for such forms as dv6payjro<i, 
TidTjfii, \v0j]aoLadov. Latin proper names like DeiitatuSy 
Modest us^ Salerniivi, the Greeks were perfectly able to pro- 
nounce with their Latin accent ; there was nothing in their 
own system which forbade it: yet we often find such words 
accented on the first syllable, Ahra-To^, M6B€aTo<;, I^aXepvov — 
showing that an accented antepenult followed by a long penult 
was a combination agreeable to the Greek ear and regarded 
with a kind of preference. 

Another consideration which goes to show that the Greek 
accent was not accompanied by any very decided stress of 
voice is found in the structure of Greek verse. In this, the 
word-accent is wholly disregarded, the ictus of the verse being 
quite as likely to fall on an unaccented as on an accented syl- 
lable. In the heroic hexameter, for example, we know that 
there was an ictus, or verse-accent, that is, a special stress of 
voice, on the first syllable of each dactyl or spondee. But if 
we look at the first seven lines of the Iliad, out of the forty- 
two cases of ictus which they present, only sixteen are found 
on syllables which have the written accent. Now it would 
seem to us unnatural in our own language to take the words, 
"regarded with admiration and uncommon esteem," and read 
them as a hexameter, " regarded with admiration and uncom- 
mon esteem;" or to take the line, "'tis as moonlight unto 
sunlight or as water unto wine," and read it as an iambic 
tetrameter catalectic, " 'tis as moonlight unto sunlight or as 
water unto wine." But we must suppose that the Greeks did 
something very much like this, if we assume that with them, 
as with us, there was a decided stress of voice laid on the 
accented syllable. It is true that there is something hazard- 
ous in such reasoning. The Greeks, in the construction of 
their verse, may have treated their language with more free- 
dom than we allow in the treatment of ours. Different lan- 
guages, or, rather, the people who use them, differ widely in 
this respect. Thus the German poet has greater liberty than 
the French in departing from the established forms and idioms 
of prose speech. We have seen that in Greek music the 
natural tune of the word, the differences of pitch depending 
on the accent, were not observed, but were freely superseded 


by other combinations of tones at the pleasure of the com- 
poser. If, then, the Greeks in their music were willing to 
substitute other tones for those given by the accent of the 
spoken language, it is conceivable that in their verse also they 
may have been willing to substitute other stresses for those of 
ordinary speech, to lay the emphasis on other syllables, ac- 
cording to the rhythmical arrangement of the poet. Yet we 
cannot but regard it as highly improbable that a stress-accent, 
if it were as decided as ours, should be wholly neglected and 
superseded in the composition of verse. And in this view we 
are confirmed by the modern Greek, which, having a decided 
stress-accent, makes it, as we do, the basis or determining 
element of its verse-system. 

Taking all these considerations together, we hold it all but 
certain that the Greeks did not lay any marked or forcible 
stress on the accented syllable. It is even doubtful whether 
they laid any stress upon it, more than on other syllables of 
the word. It is certain, however, that in the history of their 
language they have either adopted a stress-accent, or have 
given strength to a weak one existing from the first. In the 
modern accent, the leading element is stress, and difference of 
pitch, if it is not wanting, has at any rate ceased to be promi- 
nent and uniform. The distinction between acute and circum- 
flex has been wholly obliterated. The forms hrfkSiaraL, ' to 
make manifest,' and SifKcoaai, ' might make manifest,' are 
undistinguishable in the modern pronunciation. With this 
change in the character of the accent was connected, as we 
just saw, the adoption of accent as the basis of versification. 
When verses began to be constructed on this basis, they were 
called crrt^ot TrdXcnKol, 'political' or 'popular verses,' in 
contrast with the old quantitative verses, which continued to 
be written, as a kind of literary exercise, long after the pro- 
nunciation on which they were founded had ceased to be 
heard. Now these political verses were composed as far back 
as the eleventh century, and probably much earlier. When- 
ever they began to be made, we may be sure that the Greek 
accent had already changed its character, and had come to 
exhibit a decided stress. But the change, we may presume, 
was very slow, and may have been going on for centuries be- 


fore the stress element was strong enough to express itself in 
verse composition. It is quite supposable, therefore, that a 
weak stress may have been heard on the accented syllable, as 
regular accompaniment, even in the time of Herodian, the 
principal authority on accent, if not yet earlier in the time of 
Aristophanes of Byzantium, the inventor of the accentual 
signs. If this were so, we might find in it an explanation of 
the fact already noticed, that the last syllable of an oxytone 
word hcis an accent written upon it, even when its tone 
changes from high to low. In ySao-iXev? iyeveTo, the grave 
accent on Xeu9 shows (so we are told) that it was pronounced 
on a low tone. But why then should it have any mark over 
it, more than the other syllables of the same word /ScwtXei/? ? 
Or why should fiaaiXeis, which in this case has no high tone, 
which is all pronounced on a low tone, have any mark of 
accent over it, more than an enclitic word, more than iarlv 
(for instance) in 'xaXeirov iariv, where the verb appears with- 
out accent ? To such questions it might be replied, not 
wholly without plausibility, that though /ScwtXew in the case 
supposed had no elevated pitch, no accent properly so called, 
its last syllable was yet distinguished from the rest by a 
slightly superior stress, and was therefore allowed to have a 
distinctive mark over it ; while the enclitic iariv was written 
without any such mark, because it had neither elevated pitch 
nor superior stress on either of its two syllables. This, I 
say, would be a possible solution of the difficulty. But there 
is another solution, of which I am now to speak, and which 
brings up a question of much interest for the theory of the 
Greek accent. 

Did the Greek accent distinguish only two tones, a high 
and a low ? Or was there some middle tone, having a regu- 
lar place in the system, some intermediate between the two 
extremes ? It must be confessed that the evidence given on 
this point by the ancient writers is not so distinct as could be 
wished. In general, they speak only of two tones, high and 
low, or (as they term them) acute and grave. Still, they do 
not explicitly assert that all grave tones were equally low. 
It may be that they thought it important only to distinguish 
the high tone, as dominating the whole word, and that dif- 


ferences between the lower tones seemed to them of too little 
practical consequence to require mention. Yet we do find in 
ancient writings indications of a middle tone. Thus Aristotle 
(Rhet., iii. i. 4) speaks of three "tones, acute, grave, and 
middle ; " though it is possible that by " middle " here he in- 
tends the circumflex, which, combining as it does both acute 
and grave, might be regarded as having an intermediate char- 
acter. But the Greek grammarian Tyrannic of Amisus, as 
quoted by Varro, enumerates four accents, grave, middle, 
acute, and circumflex. Tyrannio, indeed, may have been 
speaking of the Latin accent ; but Varro refers to other 
writers as recognizing a middle accent, Glaucus of Samos, 
Hermocrates of lasos, and the Peripatetics Theophrastus and 
Athenodorus, some, if not all, of whom must have referred to 
the Greek. And the grammarian Servius says : "It must be 
understood that this doctrine of a middle accent is no inven- 
tion of recent times, but belongs to all who before the time^f 
Varro and Tyrannio have left anything on accent ; since the 
majority of these, and the most distinguished writers, have 
made mention of this middle accent, all of whom Varro refers 
to as his authorities." • This language of Servius, doubtless, 
overstates the case. The number of writers who expressly 
recognized a middle accent cannot have been so great as here 
represented. But a reason may be found for this in a remark 
of Servius himself, that "the middle accent, which is a sort of 
border between the two others, resembles the grave more than 
it does the acute, and is therefore reckoned with the lower 
rather than with the higher tone." 

The evidence of a middle tone which has come to us from 
ancient writers, deficient as it is in definiteness and con- 
sistency, seems on the whole sufficient to warrant the inquiry, 
whether the phenomena themselves of the Greek accent fur- 
nish any indications of such a tone. G. Hermann, in his 
essay De emendanda ratione Gravimaticce Grcecce (p. ^^), 
suggested that the grave accent, where it was written for the*"' 
acute on the last syllable of an oxytone word, was the sign 
of a middle tone, intermediate between the acute and the un- 
marked grave. On this point Buttmann also, in his Atisfuhr- 
liche Grammatik, takes substantially the same ground. More 


recently, G. Curtius, reviewing Bopp's Accentuationssystem 
in Jahn's Jahrbucher (1855, vol. 71), expresses the opinion 
that the grave accent, where it forms the second part of the 
circumflex, represents not the ordinary low tone of the word, 
but an intermediate tone. This view seems to have been sug- 
gested to his mind by the Sanskrit system of accentuation : 
here, the udatta (or elevated tone), corresponding to the 
Greek acute, is regularly followed in the next syllable by the 
svariia, which certainly differed from the anudatta (unele- 
vated, depressed tone) of the other syllables. The Indian 
grammarians describe the svarita as a combination of the 
udatta and anudatta, similar to the Greek circumflex ; and 
this must clearly have been its character when used as an 
independent accent. But where it is the mere follower of an 
udatta, and especially where it belongs to a short syllable, the 
statement that it was a compound accent, a circumflex, seems 
far from probable ; we could much more easily believe it to 
have been an intermediate tone. Curtius intimates that he 
would not confine his recognition of a middle tone in Greek 
to the last part of the circumflex accent ; yet he has not 
actually given further development to the theory. But a 
recent writer, Franz Misteli, in an able article contributed to 
the 17th volume of Kuhn's Zeitschrift, has taken it up and 
carried it to a much greater extent. He holds that the acute 
accent in Greek, as in Sanskrit (?), was regularly followed by 
a middle tone, this middle tone being either written as the last 
part of a circumflex, or being merely understood on the syl- 
lable which comes after the acute. If the acute stands on the 
last syllable of a word; where there is no room for a middle 
tone after it, the acute itself loses its high pitch and becomes 
a middle tone, represented by the so-called grave accent. 
Only at the end of a sentence, or before an enclitic, does the 
acute under such circumstances retain its high pitch, and the 
word appear as an oxytone. This theory of a middle tone 
Misteli applies with much ingenuity to account for the general 
laws of Greek accentuation. In showing how it may be made 
to answer this purpose, I shall not confine myself to his state- 
ments, but shall take the liberty to depart from them in vari- 
ous particulars, and shall introduce some views (especially 


those on Latin accent) which do not appear in his exhibition 
of the subject. 

The general laws here referred to are the four following : 
I. The acute cannot stand on any syllable before the ante- 
penult. 2. The antepenult, if accented at all, must have the 
acute ; but it cannot be accented at all, if the ultima is long : 
thus dv0p(oiro<i, but avOpwirov. 3. The penult, if accented, 
must have the acute, when the ultima is long (has a long vowel- 
sound) : thus avdpon'irov, roiavrrj. 4. A long penult (one 
which has a long vowel sound), if accented at all, must have 
the circumflex when the ultima is short : thus toiovto<;. 

The Greek accent is confined to the last three syllables of a 
word. But in Sanskrit there is no such restriction. The ac- 
cent may go back to any syllable, however far removed from 
the end of the word. In dbiibodhisJiamahi, ' we wished to 
know,' it stands at the beginning of a seven-syllable word. 
The same freedom, we may presume, belonged to the primi- 
tive Indo-European. language. There must have been some 
time, therefore, in the history of the Greek language, whether 
before or after it became distinctively Greek, when a change 
took place in this respect — some time when all accents stand- 
ing before an antepenult were carried forward and thrown 
upon one of the last three syllables. If we ask for the cause 
of such a change, none could be imagined more natural or 
probable than a fondness for some particular succession of 
tones at the end of a word. If the earlier accentuation had 
a threefold distinction of tones, a high tone, middle tone, and 
low tone, we can easily conceive that this succession, these 
three tones in the order of their height, should have been 
found an agreeable cadence for the close of a word. It is a 
cadence which appears in Sanskrit in very many words ; it 
may have been common in the Indo-European language prior 
to the separation of its branches. What we should have to 
suppose in regard to the ancestors of the Greeks would be 
that at some time a special taste or fondness for this cadence 
developed itself among them, with a dislike for any cadence 
in which the high and middle tones were followed by more 
than one low tone, so that, in order to secure what they liked 
and avoid what they did not like, they came at length to 


change the accent of words, to shift it from an earlier to a 
later syllable. Changes in an opposite direction, from a later 
syllable to an earlier, were not made, even to secure this 
favorite cadence ; or, if such a change took place in particular 
cases, it did not become the general law. One thing further 
we must suppose, to account for the Greek accent : that in this 
cadence the Greeks preferred that the final low tone of the 
word should be a short one : they did not like to have it 
maintained through a long syllable. Our hypothesis, then, 
may be stated in a single sentence — that the early Greeks 
changed the older accent of words so as to secure this ca- 
dence — high tone, middle tone, short low tone — wherever it 
could be secured without throwing back the accent. This 
single hypothesis will be found sufficient to account for the 
four general laws already given. Thus : — 

1. "The accent cannot stand on any syllable before the 
antepenult." In eXe/Trero, ' was' left,' the accent (it can hardly 
be doubted) was originally placed on the augment, as it 
regularly is in Sanskrit : it fell, therefore, on the syllable be- 
fore the antepenult. The middle tone would then fall on the 
antepenult \et, and the remaining two syllables vre and to 
would have the low tone. But the preferred cadence allowed 
only one syllable, and that a short one, for the low tone at the 
end of the word. It was necessary, therefore, to place the 
high tone or accent on the antepenult Xet, leaving 7re for the 
middle tone and to for the low tone. 

2. " The antepenult, if accented at all, must have the 
acute." Of course, if accented at all, it must have either the 
acute or the circumflex. Suppose, then, that in the word 
eXeiTTeTo the circumflex accent was placed on the antepenult 
X€t : that syllable, from the nature of the circumflex, would 
have the high tone on the first part and the middle tone on 
the last ; and thus again as before there would be two sylla- 
bles, 7re and to, for the low tone. The circumflex on the 
antepenult would, therefore, be incompatible with the cadence 
required. But the rule asserts also " that the antepenult can- 
not have any accent, even the acute, if the ultima is long." 
For suppose that the first person eKeiirofn^v could have the 
acute, the high tone, on the antepenult Xet : the middle tone 


would fall on tto, and the low tone on fir)v, a long syllable. 
But the cadence required was " high tone, middle tone, short 
low tone." Hence the high tone or acute must be placed on 
the penult, TTO, and the final long syllable yu7]v must be divided 
between the other two tones, its first half being sounded with 
the middle tone, and its last half (which, of course, has the 
quantity of a short syllable) being sounded with the low tone. 

3. "The penult, if accented, must have the acute when 
the ultima has a long vowel." For in the feminine ToiavTT), 
' such,' suppose that the circumflex could stand on the penult 
av. This syllable, then, by the nature of the circumflex, 
would have both high tone and middle tone, and the low tone 
would fall on tt;, a long syllable, which is inconsistent with 
the required cadence. To secure this, the high tone, or acute 
accent, must be placed on the penult av, and the final long rrj 
must be divided between the other two tones, the first short 
time contained in it being sounded with the middle tone, and 
the last short time with the low. 

4. "A penult with long vowel-sound, if accented at all, 
must have the circumflex when the ultima has a short vowel." 
For suppose that the masculine roioino<i, ' such,' had the acute 
or high tone on the penult ov ; the middle tone would then 
fall on the last syllable To<i, and the final low tone would be 
excluded. In many words, as in \6yo<;, ' speech,' this was 
something unavoidable : the high tone falling on \o, the short 
penult, must fill that syllable, the middle tone must fill the last 
short syllable 709, and there is no room left for the closing low 
tone. But with a penult long by nature, as in toiovto^, there 
was no such necessity. It was enough to divide the long ov 
between the high tone and middle tone — in other words, to 
sound it with the circumflex accent : the ultima to<; was then 
left for the short low tone, and the desirFd cadence was thus 

We see, then, that these four general rules of Greek accent, 
which have the appearance of being unconnected, arbitrary, 
and capricious, are all of them direct corollaries from a single 
hypothesis, all of them necessary results from the extension 
of a single cadence — high tone, middle tone, short low tone — 
at the end of words. But what shall we say of polysyllables 


like 'xaXe^ro'i, ' harsh,' with acute on the last syllable, or 
like ;n;aXe7rft)9, * harshly,' with circumflex on the last syllable, 
or like XeXu/zevo?, ' having been loosed,' with acute on the pe- 
nult before a short ultima ? In these words there is, room for 
the favorite cadence, but they do not have it : they close 
either with the high tone itself (as in ^oXeTro?), or with the 
high tone followed by the middle (as in ^^aXeTTw?, XeXu/iei/o?). 
How can tliis be accounted for ? By the last clause in our 
hypothesis : " The Greeks changed the older accent of their 
words, so as to secure the favorite cadence, wherever this 
could be secured ivithout throzuing back the accent T We hold 
it to be true, as a general fact, that words like those just given 
were thus accented in the primitive period — i.e. either on the 
Icist syllable, or on the penult with short ultima following — 
and that they did not assume the threefold cadence, because 
the tendency to this was not strong enough to produce a re- 
traction of the accent from a later to an earlier syllable. By 
this we do not mean that such a retraction never occurred. 
It may have taken place in numerous instances, but it never 
became the general law. And thus the Greek has many 
oxytones, which of course end with a high tone ; many pe- 
rispomena, which end with a middle tone ; and not a few pa- 
rox}-tones with short ultima, which likewise end with a middle 
tone: and these, not in short words only, when the -full 
cadence was impossible, but in very many longer words, 
where there was room enough and to spare for the succession 
of ' high tone, middle tone, and short low tone.' 

But there was one branch of the Greek people — ^the ./Eoli- 
ans of Asia Minor — which went farther than the rest in the 
fondness for this cadence. The ^Eolians did not hesitate to 
retract the accent for the purpose of securing it. Thus XeXv/*€- 
V09 was changed by them to XeXu/zevo?, '^((iKjeirb'i to ^aXeTTo?, 
^^aXcTTO)? to ^^aXeTTG)? — ^aXeTro)? they could not say, for that 
would make a long low tone. If there was not room for the 
complete succession of three tones, they secured as much of 
it as they could, saying (for instance) a-6<f>o<; with high tone 
and middle tone, instead of the common Greek ao(f)6^, ' wise,' 
an oxytone word. Hence in the ^olic dialect the only oxy- 
tones were monosyllables, and even these were oxytone only 


when the vowel was short, as the articles roz/, to, tol. If the 
vowel was long, there was room for a middle tone after the 
high tone : the monosyllable was then pronounced with cir- 
cumflex accent, as Tr\v, Tov'i, instead of the common Greek 
T-^v, Tov<i. It was only in prepositions and conjunctions that the 
^olic, in agreement with the other Greek dialects, admitted 
oxytone words of greater extent than one short syllable. 

We observe now that a similar hypothesis may be used to 
explain the peculiarities of Latin accentuation. The Latin, 
beside the acute accent, or high tone, has a circumflex, which 
it uses just where theyEolic dialect would use the circumflex — 
that is, on all monosyllables with long vowel (except only 7ie 
with the imperative), and on all penults with long vowel fol- 
lowed by short ultima. On all other accented syllables the 
acute was used : viz., on antepenults followed by short penult, 
on long penults followed by long ultima, on all penults long 
only by position, on short penults of dissyllables, and on all 
monosyllables with short vowel, enclitics of course excepted. 
It is evident that in changing the primitive accent the Latin 
has not confined itself to one direction, from earlier to later 
syllables : like the yEolic Greek, it has freely moved the ac- 
cent backward, from later syllables to earlier, in order to 
secure the desired cadence. But the cadence required to 
account for the Latin accent is in one respect different from 
that which served to explain the Greek. The Greek would 
not allow the middle tone to be followed by a long low tone : 
the Latin would not allow the low tone to be preceded by a 
long middle tone, a middle tone extending over the whole of 
a long syllable, whether long by nature or by position. Hence 
for the Latin the cadence becomes "high tone, short middle 
tone, low tone." For example, in legere, legeres, legeret, the 
low tone fell on the last syllable, I'e, res, ret, without reference 
to its quantity, whether long or short ; the middle tone on the 
short penult ge, and the high tone on the antepenult le. This 
example is enough to show that, by the necessity of such a 
cadence, the accent could never go farther back than the 
antepenult ; that the antepenult, if accented at all, must take 
the acute ; and that the antepenult could only be accented 
when the penult was short. In such forms 2iS gander e or gau- 


deret, the acute must stand on the long penult de ; but if the 
desired cadence is to be obtained, it must admit the middle 
tone to the latter half of the long vowel, for the short ultima 
has only room enough for the low tone : the word, therefore, 
could only have the circumflex (the combination of high and 
middle tone) on the penult. But in forms like gaudcres, where 
both penult and ultima have long vowels, the Latin preferred 
to divide the long ultima res between the middle and low 
tones, leaving only the high tone for the penult de: the word, 
then, has the acute on the penult. So too have forms like 
legendiis, where the penult has a short vowel, and is only long 
by position. Here the circumflex is impossible : the short 
vowel in gen cannot be divided between two tones, the high 
and middle ; gen must have the high tone, diis the middle, 
and the low tone is excluded by the necessity of the case. In 
legendi, the cadence could be made complete by dividing the 
long di between the middle and low. tones ; but in legendus 
it is necessarily incomplete, as much as in legit or legnnt, where 
both vowels are short, or in the Greek \0709, having only the 
high and middle tones. 

It is not necessary to go further into details to show that all 
features of the Latin accentuation may be accounted for by the 
assumed tendency to close all words with the succession of 
" high tone, middle tone, low tone," or so much of it a§ pos- 
sible, consistently with the one restriction that the low tone 
must never have before it a middle tone which occupied the 
whole of a long syllable. But if we compare the Greek ac- 
centuation with the Latin, and both with that freer system of 
primitive Indo-European speech which is best represented to 
us by the Sanskrit, we may naturally conclude that the first 
step in the series of changes which gave the accentual systems 
of the Greeks and Romans their peculiar character was caused 
by a simple distaste for a succession of low-toned syllables at 
the end of a word, I repeat^ the beginning of a special Greek 
and Roman accentuation would seem to have sprung from the 
mere unwillingness to hear more than one low-tone syllable 
at the end of a word. This unwillingness, carried into prac- 
tical effect, would confine the accent (that is, the high tone) 
to the last three syllables of the word. But it would not 


cause any retraction of the accent ; it would allow such forms 
as 'yaXeivo'i, ^aXeTrw?, XeKvjxkvo^ ; for these have not even one 
low tone, still less have they a succession of low tones at the 
end. And further, this simple distaste or unwillingness, as it 
implies no restriction on the long or short quantity of the single 
tones, would allow such forms as iXelTrofiTjv, avOpcoirov, in 
Greek, and such forms 2^ gaiideret, legendiis, in Latin, This 
first step we may naturally suppose to have been made in the 
Graeco-Latin or Graeco-Italican period — that is, while the 
common ancestors of these peoples spoke a language, differing 
indeed from the original Indo-European, but not yet divided 
into branches having a distinct character as Greek, and Italican 
or Latin. Biit the next step must have been taken after this 
division, as it is different in the two branches. In the Greek, 
it springs from a distaste for a long low tone, a low tone 
stretching through a whole long syllable, following the high 
and middle tones at the close of a word. This would require 
eK.enroixiqv instead of iXelirofjLrjv, dvdpaiTrov instead of avOpwrrov. 
The corresponding step in the Latin springs from a distaste 
for a long middle tone, a middle tone stretching through a 
whole long syllable, between the high and low tones at the 
close of a word. This would Yo^c^mvQ gaicderes instead o{ gato- 
deres, legendus instead of legendus. In Greek the ej^ect of 
this second step was to make the cadence, "high tone, mid- 
dle tone, short low tone," the prevailing one for words which 
were long enough to admit of it ; though there still remained 
a large number of words, represented by p^aXevro?, %aXe7r&)9, 
\€\vfievo<;, which did not have it. Now one section of the 
Greek race, the .^olic of Asia, went further than this : they 
took a third step, probably much later than the second ; they 
threw back the accent of these words, so as to make the already 
prevailing cadence universal, so far at least as the length of 
the word would allow. Whether the whole Italican race, in all 
its branches, Umbrian, Oscan,' Sabine, etc., took a similar 
third step, we are unable to say. It is certain that one branch 
did so, the Latins ; they threw back the accent, so, that the 
cadence already prevailing should be made universal, as far as 
the length of the word would allow. 

Perhaps I should leave a false impression, if I were to close 


without calling attention in one word to the hypothetical char- 
acter of what has been said here about a middle tone. The 
existence of a middle tone in Greek and Latin has a good deal 
of positive a;icient testimony in its favor. But that a high 
tone, when it did not come at the end of a word, was regularly 
followed by a middle tone, is a proposition which, however 
supported by Sanskrit analogies, has no direct evidence in the 
statements of the ancient writers. And of course, if there 
were no doubt of its truth, still the use here made of it to ac- 
count for the ante-historic changes and the earliest historical 
appearances of Greek and Latin accentuation, would be 
purely hypothetical. At the same time, it may be said with 
justice, that the hypothesis is so natural in itself, it is so 
readily suggested by known facts, and it offers so simple and 
perfect an explanation for a variety of seemingly unconnected 
and capricious phenomena, that one can hardly help believing 
that it has a foundation in truth. 

To some persons it may seem hard to believe that the ordi- 
nary utterance of discourse and conversation should have had 
so much of musical intonation : that this threefold distinction 
of tone should have found place in it as a recognized and con- 
stant element. But in the Chinese, and the languages cog- 
nate to it, as spoken at the present day, we find the musical 
element playing a much larger and more important part. In 
some of the popular dialects of China, a large proportion of 
the syllables which make up the language are pronounced 
with seven or eight intonations : thus, as a short abrupt mono- 
tone (compare the English preposition to in its ordinary short 
pronunciation) ; or as a prolonged monotone (compare the 
English numeral two) ; or with mixed falling tone (like the 
Greek circumflexed rov) ; or with mixed rising tone (like the 
English two at the end of a question: "two?"); or with 
similar intonations duplicated on a lower key. Thus the same 
syllable may be pronounced in seven or eight different w^ays, 
having each their special and widely diverse meanings. Com- 
pared with such complexity of musical intonation, that w^hich 
we have hypothetically ascribed to the early speakers of Latin, 
Greek, and Sanskrit, and the yet earlier speakers of the undi- 
vided Indo-Europeem speech, is a very simple and easy matter. 




IN the second part of Mr. Alexander J, Ellis's work on 
" Early English Pronunciation," mention is made (pp. 516- - 
■527) of a document which seems to me of considerable inte- 
rest in reference to the history of Greek pronunciation. It 
consists of a few manuscript leaves, written apparently by an 
Anglo-Saxon hand, not far from a thousand years ago. On 
these leaves are given passages from the Greek text of the 
Septuagint, written not in Greek, but in, Anglo-Saxon char- 
acters. They are Anglo-Saxon transliterations of the Greek 
Septuagint, in which it seems to have been the object of the 
transliterator to represent, at least approximately, in Anglo- 
Saxon letters the current pronunciation of the Greek words. 
These transliterations werp noticed as long ago as 1705, by 
the famous Anglo-Saxon scholar Hickes, in the preface to his 
Linguariim Veteruin Septentriorialii^n Thesaurus (pp. xi- 
xiii). The codex in which they are found is of a composite 
and fragmentary character. There is a brief account of it in ■ 
the second volume of Hickes' Thesaurus, with a description 
of its contents, given by Humphrey Wanley. Mr. Ellis de- 
scribes it more at length, on the authority of Mr. G. Waring 
of Oxford. He speaks of it as a small quarto volume, con- 
taining several unconnected pieces of great age and value. 
Thus, in folios 1-8, we have part of the treatise entitled Dc 
Conjiigationibus distingtiejidis , by the grammaril^n Eutychius ; 
in folios 10-18, an Anglo-Saxon homily on the finding of the 
cross by St. Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine ; 
in folios 20-22, a Lunar and Paschal Calendar for the years 
817-832 ; in folio 23, Paiica de Mensuris et PonderibuSy ' a few » 


statements on weights and measures ; ' and in folios 37 to the 
end of the volume, the first book of Ovid's Ars Amatoria. 
It is a curious fact that three of these pieces — the Eutychius, 
the Pauca d^ Meiisiiris, and the Ovid's Ars Amatoria — have 
a number of Welsh glosses, renderings of Latin words and 
phrases into the Welsh of that time. Zeuss, who makes 
much use of these in his Grammatica Celtica, refers them to 
the latter part of the eighth or the earlier part of the ninth 
century. He pronounces them the oldest monuments of the 
Welsh language ; and regrets that they are too scanty to show 
us the system of the language as it then was. From similar 
material, but more abundant, he has been able to reconstruct 
the Irish of the ninth century ; for the Welsh, there is no suf- 
ficient material before the twelfth. This, however, is aside 
from our present subject. The only parts of the manuscript 
which concern us now are folio 19 and folios 24-36. These 
contain extracts from the Septuagint, with the corresponding 
passages from the Itala (or old Italian, ante-Vulgate, version). 
And, of these, we may leave out of consideration folios 
24-28, where the Greek text is given in Greek characters, 
with many inaccuracies, which show that the copyist had but 
little acquaintance with the Greek language. There remain 
then folio 19 and folios 28 to 36, in which the Greek text is 
given in Anglo Saxon characters. Unfortunately this trans- 
literated text has never been published as a whole. But 
Hickes in his preface before referred to has given specimens 
of it, which belong to the ist and 22d chapters of Genesis, 
the 42d Psalm, and the 4th, 5th, and 55th chapters of Isaiah : 
a few verses from each, in all 25 verses. These same speci- 
mens are reprinted by Ellis, in a corrected form, having been 
carefully collated with the manuscript by Mr. Waring. In 
our remarks on Greek pronunciation as indicated by the 
manuscript, we are confined of necessity to these 25 verses ; 
but the evidence they give is probably as distinct on most 
points as we should be able to draw from an examination of 
the whole text. 

But, before taking up particular points of Greek pronuncia- 
tion, it may be well to notice one or two questions which 
naturally suggest tliemselves. What is the age of this manu- 


script ? On this point I do not find that Hickes expresses 
any judgment. Mr. Waring thinks that it was written in the 
last half of the tenth century. His opinion does not seem to 
be founded on the forms of the letters, though these would 
probably give ground for a near guess to one expert in Anglo- 
Saxon diplomacy, but on external or historical reasons. It is 
not likely that an Anglo-Saxon, even of the better educated 
clergy, would have known or cared much about the Greek 
pronunciation of his time, unless his interest had been awak- 
ened and his information extended by hving communication 
with Greek persons. Now Mr. Waring observes that Eadgith, 
an Anglo-Saxon princess, married Otho I. of Germany in 
930, and her son Otho II. married Theophania, a Greek prin- 
cess, in 972. He supposes that " at the court of Otho a 
constant connection was kept up with the Anglo-Saxons and 
the Greeks, and thus a means was opened for the priests of 
the former to receive some tincture of Hellenic letters. We 
shall therefore hardly be wrong," he says, " in referring such 
transcriptions to the latter part of the tenth century. Want 
of opportunity is against an earlier date, and the confu- 
sion and ruin occasioned by the Danish invasion in the early 
part of the eleventh century, the close connection of Canute 
with Rome, and the subsequent Norman influence through 
Edward the Confessor, render a later date almost impossi- 
ble." To these historical reasonings, which do not seem to 
me very decisive, he adds "the agreement of the Saxon 
homily in the same book with the language of the tenth 
century ; " and we may the more readily accept his conclu- 
sion, as most of the extant Anglo-Saxon manuscripts belong 
to that century. 

Is it certain that the scribe intended his transliteration to 
be a phonetic one, that he aimed to represent the sounds 
rather than the letters of the Greek text ? On this point 
there seems to be no reasonable question. The single fact 
that he represents ot uniformly by the letter y may be con- 
sidered decisive ; no reason can be imagined for this except 
a desire to indicate the pronunciation. Neither the Greek 
letters ^themselves, nor the m diphthong which the Romans 
used for them, could suggest a _;/ as the symbol. It must be 


admitted, indeed, that our writer is not uninfluenced by the 
Roman mode of writing Greek words. Occasional variations 
from his normal method can be traced to this influence. 
Thus, in general, he takes no notice of the rough breathing, 
which undoubtedly was no longer pronounced in his time ; 
we may presume, therefore, that in the very few cases (six 
only out of seventy-nine in the verses before us) where he 
writes it by h, he was affected by the ordinary Roman tran- 
scription. For ai he usually writes a simple e (pronounced 
nearly as our e in they) ; in a few instances (eleven only out 
of eightj'-eight) , he writes m, as in the ordinary Roman tran- 
scription. In this case the variation was the more excusable, 
because the writer was probably accustomed in Latin texts 
to sound (B exactly as he did e. So as to the consonant ^, 
which he generally represents by// if in two instances out of 
fifteen he represents it as the Romans did, by///, he certainly 
did not think of ph as having any sound different from f. 
Other variations and inconsistencies might be pointed out ; 
but with one remarkable exception, of which we shall speak 
further on, the cases of deviation from the rule bear only a 
very small proportion to those of conformity with it. We 
are thus able to make out in all points what may be called 
the system of the writer, his normal method. We see clearly 
what letters he thought best fitted to represent the several 
vowels, diphthongs, and consonants of the Greek. 

We proceed now to examine in detail this system of nota- 
tion, and to point out some conclusions which may be drawn 
from it as to the ciirrent pronunciation of Greek in the time 
of the writer. The vowel a he represents, as we should ex- 
pect, hy a ; e, hy e j i, by t; o and oj, hy o. There is no 
reason to suppose that the Greek pronunciation of these 
vowels has altered since the earliest times, except that the 
distinction of long and short quantity has ceased to be ob- 
served. Whether the distinction was still observed in the 
time of our writer can hardly be determined. It is true that 
the Anglo-Saxon scribes often mark the long sounds of their 
own vowels by an accentual stroke ; but in this practice they 
were so far from uniform that we can lay no stress on the 
general omission of the- stroke in this manuscript. Only four 



instances of it occur in the 25 verses given. In three of these 
it stands over o, in one over t) ; in all the four it coincides 
with a Greek accent. That the Anglo-Saxon vowels a, e, i, 
had the same sounds with the a, e, i, o in ancient and modern 
Greek is sufficiently proved by other evidence, though the 
confirmation which we find here is not unwelcome. The 
Greek v our writer represents by y. He invariably distin- 
guishes it from L : he never uses y ior^t, and he never uses i 
for V. This is unquestionable evidence that the two vowels 
differed in pronunciation. Had t and v sounded alike, as 
they do in modern Greek utterance, our scribe would have | 
confounded them in writing, as he confounds e and at, as he 
confounds v and ot. Now, without reference to this manuscript, 
there is strong reason to believe that the A^glo-Saxon y had 
the sound of French u or German u. And the general 
opinion of scholars has recognized this as the prevailing an- 
cient pronunciation of the Greek v. But here comes inde- 
pendent testimony that Greek v and Anglo-Saxon y were 
sounded like each other, and both differently from the Greek t. 
In what other sound different from l can they have agreed, 
but in that which is most probable, on separate grounds for 
each of them, the sound of French ti or German u7 

The only simple vowel yet to be mentioned is rj. And in 
reference to this we find a strange vacillation on the part of 
the writer, a vacillation which has no parallel in his treatment 
of other letters. He sometimes uses e and sometimes i, both 
•with nearly equal frequency. In some of the fragments e pre- 
vails, in others i ; but when all the instances are counted, there 
is little difference in the sum. In TrdarjiiTrji; 7779, Gen. i. 26, the 
7/ of the first word is given as e, that of the second and third 
as i. In iSc-ylrrjo-ev r] yfrvxV' Ps. xlii. 2, the case is exactly re* 
versed ; the 77 of the first word is given as /, that of the second 
and third as e. Mr. Ellis's statement, here, has not his' usual 
accuracy. " For ?/," he says, " we have most generally /, but 
in about 50 instances ^." If he had counted, he would have 
found 55 instances of z, but 62 of ^. The ^'s have a majority, 
though only a small one, over the ?'s. Mr. Ellis suggests 
that there was some confusion in the mind of the scribe, 
"perhaps arising from the Latin transcriptions of ?;, with 


which he was necessarily more familiar." But this is contrary 
to the analogy of the manuscript. The scribe was familiar 
with a? as a Latin transcription of ot, but in these verses he 
scarcely uses it all. He was familiar with ^ as a Latin tran- 
scription of at, but the instances in which he uses it are only 
one-eighth of the whole number. In the other seven-eighths 
he uses e, though he doubtless regarded (s as expressing- the 
same sound. If 77 had sounded to his ear like Anglo-Saxon /, 
he would have represented it in general by that letter, and 
only by an occasional slip have fallen into the e, which for 
him expressed a different sound. On the other hand, if 97 
had sounded to him like e, he would have represented it in 
general by that letter, and only by an occasional slip have 
fallen into the i. That he vacillates as he does between the 
two is a sufficient proof that both were unsatisfactory ; the 
Greek 17 did not seem to him like either his e or his i. Now 
the ancient Greek t] was a longer e, an open sound which must 
have been essentially the same as that of Anglo-Saxon e. 
And the modern Greek 17 is not different in sound from i, and 
of course not different from Anglo-Saxon i. It appears, then, 
that in this manuscript we have caught the letter in a state of 
transition ; it was on its way from the ancient to the modern 
sound ; it had become closer than the first, but was not yet 
so close as the second. It cannot have differed very widely 
from the final sound of English they, pray, convey, etc. , which 
is certainly closer than Anglo-Saxon e, and has in fact a van- 
ishing sound like Anglo-Saxon i. The difficulty which puz- 
zled our writer may be illustrated by taking the three English 
words ell, ail, eel. The Anglo-Saxon e was like the vowel 
sound of ell ; the Anglo-Saxon / like the vowel sound of 
eel. For the vowel sound of ail he had no equivalent in his 
language : how was he to represent it ? If he writes an e, the 
word will sound ell, not ail ; if he writes an /, it will sound eel, 
not ail. No wonder that he vacillates between the two, un- 
satisfied with either. I suspect the 17, as he formed it, was 
a little closer than our a in ail ; if not, I think he would more 
generally have used his e. But that the 17 was then less close 
than our e in eel — that is, than Modern Greek i) — seems to me 
proved beyond a doubt. 


If now we pass on to the diphthongs, we shall find, as we 
might expect, that a large part of them have lost the diph- 
thongal character. Beside those written with iota subscript, 
which are represented here in the same way as simple a, rj, &>, 
we have ov represented by z/, at represented by e, and ei 
represented by t. In all these cases, the change from the 
compound diphthongal utterance to the simple sound had 
begun to prevail either before, or not long after the Chris- 
tian era. Another very interesting change of this kind ap- 
pears in 06, which our scribe, as already stated, uniformly 
represents by y. He does not distinguish it from v, and 
doubtless heard it pronounced with the same- sound, that of 
French « or German it. The fact thatot was for a long time 
sounded like v, while as yet they were both distinguished 
from I, has already attracted the notice of scholars. On this 
subject I may quote some statements made by G. Curtius in the 
Erlduterungen to his Grammar (p. 21). He tells us that 
Liscovius, in a work on the pronunciation of Greek, pub- 
lished in 1825, cited from old grammarians a number of 
orthographic rules which imply this identity of 01 and i». 
Thus in the Erotemata of Basil, written in the fourth century 
after Christ, it is said : iraaa Xi^a diro tt}? kv avWa/Sij^; 
ap')(pfiev7) Bia tcv v '\ln\ov 'ypd^erat 7rXr)v rov koTKov. It is 
strange that the rule should omit to mention koi/jluco, kolvo^;, 
and several others with initial kol ; but it says, plainly enough, 
that the first syllable of koIXov has the sound of kv. Similar 
rules are found in the Epiinerismi ascribed to Herodian, 
and in the Greek Etymologica. Thus in the Etymologiaini 
Magnum (p. 289, 11) : to. eh v^ airavra hta tov v -ylnXov ypd- 
(f)eTac ttXtjv tov Trpol^. The word irpoi^, then, must have 
sounded as if written irpv^. If the modern pronuncia- 
tion had prevailed at that time, the writer should have added 
words in t^, as 6pi^, kv\i^, fxdcm^, nrepBi^, rerrt^, (f>oivc^, 
Xotvt^, and a multitude of others ; also words in tj^, as yS?;^, 
<T<p7]^, dXcoTTi]^, fivpfMT]^, vdpBr)^, W^'/fj ^'^d many more; for 
the modern Greek pronounces all these as he would if they 
were spelled with v^ in the last syllable. Other facts of this 
kind are given by R, F. A. Schmidt in his Beitrdge zur 
Geschichte der Grammatik (p. 73 ff.) ; and he derives from 



them a new and beyond all doubt a correct explanation of 
the namely -^^CKov as well as e -^Ckov. The old name of the 
letter was v, i.e. the long sound of the vowel with circumflex 
accent. But when oi came to be sounded in the same way, 
the adjective -^CKov, ' bare, simple,' was often added : thus j5 
yjnXov, ' simple v,' written with one letter, in distinction from 
V Bi(f)%'Yyov, written with two letters, that is, oc. As to e, it 
was first named et, just like the Greek word for ' if,' only 
given with circumflex accent ; afterward it was named e, the 
short vowel-sound itself serving as a name for the letter. But 
when ai was sounded in the same way, the word yInXov was 
often added : e ylnXov, ' the simple, one-letter e,' in distinction 
from 6 8L(f)Boyyov, ' the two-letter e ' — that is, ac 

How OL should get the sound of v it is not difficult to un- 
derstand. First, the close i may have caused the o before it 
to assume the closer sound of u. This would give the diph- 
thong m, which might naturally pass into the intermediate v. 
If, instead of sounding the u and / each in its own position, 
the vocal organs take the position for 'w and in that position 
try to utter 2, the result will be a simple v. It is a curious 
fact that this pronunciation of 01 appeared among the 
Boeotians several centuries before the Christian era, as in 
TU9 aX\v<i for toU aWot?, rvKia for olx-a. What adds to the 
wonder is, that the changes in ai and et should have been 
likewise anticipated among the Boeotians : as in ypdcfteaSr/, 
Boeotic for ypd<^eaBai ; Ifii, Bceotic for ecfii. The Boeotians, 
backward as their Athenian neighbors thought them, "were 
certainly, as regards pronunciation, in advance of their 

We have yet to speak of the diphthongs av and ev. Our scribe 
represents them by me and eu. In modern Greek they are 
sounded as af and ef before surds {t. e. smooth and rough 
mutes, also o", f, i/r), but av and ev before sonants {i. e. all 
other consonants and all vowels). It seems clear that this 
writer did not hear them as af 2ind- ef before surds; for in 
that case he would have used /in writing them. To suppose 
that he would uniformly give up a phonetic representation 
for the sake of conforming to ordinary Latin transcription is 
contrary to the analogy of his procedure in other cases. Nor 


is it probable that he heard them as av and ^z/ before sonants. 
The II with which he writes them is the same lettef^that he 
uses for ov ; it is most Hkely that he meant it to express the 
same sound. This, however, is not entirely certain. The An- 
glo-Saxons, while they had a w (or what we write as such), had 
no V / the Anglo-Saxon ti is always a vowel. But, in writing 
Latin, they used the same letter it both for u and for v. 
We cannot, therefore, be quite sure that our scribe would 
not have written an and eu for av and ev, as he was wont to 
do in writing Latin words like gravis and levis. But if he 
did so, if his au and eu were meant for av and ev, we may be 
sure that the Greek ^ did not sound to him as v, which is its 
present pronunciation. The modern Greek confounds av be- 
fore sonants with a^ ; but this writer distinguishes them, giv- 
ing the former as av, the latter as ah / he cannot have sounded 
both of them as av. 

As to the rough breathing, we have already said that our 
• writer leaves it unrepresented in all but a very few cases, where 
we may presume that he was influenced by the ordinary Latin 
transcription. Undoubtedly it had ceased to be heard in pro- 
nunciation : and the Roman h, we know, has suffered the 
same fate in the modern descendants of the Latin, 

The consonants will furnish little subject for remark. We 
have already observed that is pretty constantly represented 
by/. It is remarkable that for a long time the Romans never 
represented by/. At first they used/ for this purpose, as 
in Poino-s for ^olvi^, purpura for '7rop(j)vpa, etc. But after- 
ward they begin to express the Greek aspirates ; and thence- 
forward — that is, from about the time of Cicero — they i^ed 
p/t for </). It is not until late in the period of the empire that 
we begin to find / for cf). This fact shows that the classical 
pronunciation of (j) must have been more than slightly differ- 
ent from that of /.• it must have been broadly distinguished 
from the /, and nearer to Latin p. It was, in fact, what the 
ancients describe it as being, a/ followed by an /i distinctly 
audible. But from this, its true aspirate sound, it passed into 
the spirant // and that change had probably become fixed 
some centuries before the date of our Anglo-Saxon writer. 
The other aspirates must have undergone a similar change at 


about the same time. They are represented here by th for B, 
and ch for X' It is surprising that we nowhere find the simple 
character which is used in Anglo-Saxon writing for the th 
sound of think, throw ; but there can be no real question as 
to the sound represented. 

It is worth noticing that, wherever two rough mutes suc- 
ceed each other, the first is always represented here as becom- 
ing smooth. Thus the word i-yOvoav occurs twice, and both 
times is spelt with cth, not chth; the participle \6Kf)!^ev occurs 
three times, and in each instance is spelt with />th, not /th. 
Can it be that the long current pronunciation of the word 
diphthong as dipthoiig was founded on the usage of the Greeks 
who served as teachers of their language at the revival of 
learning ? 

In modern Greek pronunciation a smooth mute (tt, t, #c), 
when it follows a nasal, is vocalized and becomes sonant, 
through the influence of the sonant before it. Hence /xtt is 
sounded as jub, vr as nd, 7/c as ng. No such change is indi- 
cated in our scribe's transliterations : he writes anipelon (not 
ambeloi) for afiirekdiv, panton (not pandoii) for Trdvrayp, prose- 
nencon {not prosejietigon) for irpoaeve^Kov. 

The modern Greek pronunciation has no middle mutes 
except after a nasal. Everywhere else the ^, 7, 8 have ceased 
to be mutes and have passed into spirants, with sonant utter- 
ance. From being the sonants of tt, /c, t, they have become 
the sonants of ^, ')(^ 0, in their present pronunciation. The 
writing of our scribe, who represents them by d,g, and ^re- 
spectively, affords no clear indication of these spirant sounds. 
It is true that the Anglo-Saxon g must often have had a weak 
sound, not very different from our consonant j/ but there is 
no reason to suppose that b and d had any other than their 
present English sounds. But for the spirant sound of B — the 
sonant /// in other — the Anglo-Saxon had a simple character, 
which we should expect to find here, if that was really heard 
by the writer. Still, as he has not used the corresponding 
character for the surd th, we can hardly lay very much stress 
upon this fact. 

In all that has been said thus far, I have spoken of the 
scribe who wrote this transliterated text as being of Anglo- 


Saxon race. But this cannot be regarded as certain. The 
codex which contains it is composed of half a dozen pieces; 
and we have seen that three of them contain Welsh glosses. 
Though there is one piece of Anglo-Saxon in the book, it is 
evident that a Welsh hand or hands have had a large share in 
its making up ; and it is altogether possible that this trans- 
literation may have been made by such a hand. This possi- 
bility derives some support from the fact that not one of the 
special characters used by the Anglo-Saxons — the w, the two 
signs for tJi surd and sonant, the compound ce — is found in 
this text. And none of them occurs in the Welsh glosses of 
this volume, as printed by Zeuss at the end of his Grani- 
matica Celtica (with perhaps one exception, on p. 1087). It 
must be said, however, on the other side, that the y, which 
occurs so often in the transliteration, is not to be found in 
these glosses. If it was a Welshman who made the trans- 
literation, we must suppose that, having in his own language 
no sound that corresponded to the Greek u, he fell back upon 
the familiar Latin equivalent j, which he used also for ot, be- 
cause that had the same sound as v. But it would still be 
true that, if i; and oi had a common sound, different from l, 
that common sound could hardly have varied much from 
German u, which appears on independent grounds to have 
been the ancient power of the v. And it might be shown in 
detail, if there were time for it, that the other conclusions 
which we have drawn from the manuscript would require little 
modification, if we suppose it to have been written by a 
Welshman rather than a Saxon. 

The object of Mr. Ellis in -giving a specimen of this trans- 
literated text, and commenting at some length upon it, is 
mainly to throw light on the current pronunciation of the 
Anglo-Saxon in the tenth century. The light thus obtained, 
if it does not discover anything absolutely new, gives a wel- 
come confirmation to views which were already probable on 
other grounds. But Mr. Ellis is led to say something on the 
pronunciation of Greek in ancient times. Without entering 
into any discussion of the subject, he gives utterance to a 
general conclusion, in the following terms : " We may never 
be able to recover the pronunciation, or appreciate the quan- 


titative rhythm, of the Athenian tragedians or of the Homeric 
rhapsodists, but we can read as Plutarch and as Lucian, and 
we should be satisfied with that privilege, remembering that 
if we pronounced these later authors otherwise than as the 
modern Greeks, we should certainly pronounce wrongly. It 
would indeed be just about as absurd to read Lucian with the 
pronunciation of Aristophanes, as to read Tennyson with the 
pronunciation of Chaucer." This is a kind oi obiter dictum in 
Mr. Ellis's book, for which, perhaps, he should not be held to 
a very strict account. But we must be allowed to express 
our surprise at hearing it from a scholar of so much candor 
and judgment. He is right, indeed, in assuming that Greek 
pronunciation changed in the five centuries between Aristo- 
phanes and Lucian. No one would deny this except those 
who, like Professor Ross of Halle, maintain the antediluvi- 
an antiquity of the modern Greek sounds. But can 
we suppose that Greek pronunciation has undergone no 
changes in the seventeen centuries between Lucian and our 
own day ? Have not the external and political conditions 
been at least as unfavorable to continued uniformity of pro- 
nunciation in the seventeen centuries since Plutarch and Lu- 
cian as they were in the five centuries before them ? But 
Mr. Ellis asserts that " if we pronounced Plutarch and Lucian 
otherwise than as the modern Greeks, we should certainly 
pronounce wrongly." How any man can say this who looks 
at the manuscript we have been discussing, and who believes 
in it, is beyond my comprehension. Mr. Ellis recognizes in 
the manuscript an attempt to represent the current Byzantine 
pronunciation of the tenth cejitury. But, so regarded, it 
shows unequivocally that in the tenth century, seven or eight 
hundred years after Plutarch and Lucian, the current pronun- 
ciation was still in many important points essentially different 
from that of the present day. Unquestionably the most 
characteristic feature of the present pronunciation is its iota- 
cism. Like i are sounded the two vowels t] and v, and the 
four diphthongs, et, 77,. ot, vi : that is, there are six written 
forms beside c which have the same sound with it. Now how 
does it appear in this manuscript ? Here only one of these 
six forms — ^the diphthong ec — is as yet fully identified with t. 


Three others, the vowel v and the diphthongs oi and ut, are uni- 
formly distinguished from it, while the remaifting two, i) and 77, 
though clearly on the way toward an t-sound, have not yet 
reached that goal. But the manuscript gives similar testi- 
mony in regard to other prominent features of the modern 
Greek pronunciation : so as to the sounds of of and ef, for the 
diphthongs av, eu when followed by surds ; and probably also 
the sounds av and ev for the same diphthongs when followed 
by sonants. So, too, as to the medial sounds for the smooth 
mutes TT, AC, T, where they follow a nasal. I say nothing as to 
the spirant sounds of the middle mutes, for in regard to these 
the testimony of the manuscript can hardly be regarded as 
decisive. But leaving these out of the account, the differences 
indicated between the pronunciation of the tenth century and 
that of the nineteenth are extensive and important. How 
then can it be said (as Mr. Ellis in effect says) that there is no 
material difference between the pronunciation of the second 
century and that of the nineteenth ? 




I PROPOSE to call the attention of the Society* for a short 
time to a pamphlet of some ninety pages, recently pub- 
lished by Professor Ross, of Halle, and entitled " Italiker und 
Gmken. — Sprachen die Romer Sanskrit oder Griechisch ? " 
* Greeks and Italicans. — Did the Romans talk Sanskrit or 
Greek? — In letters to a friend, by Ludwig Ross, Halle, 1858.' 
This rather quaint title is followed by an equally quaint dedi- 
cation, "to the Greeks, as being, in race and language, 
parents of the Romans." The theory here indicated as to the 
relation between Greeks and Romans is more distinctly stated 
in the Preface — a lengthy but lively document, addressed to 
Professor Keil, of Pforte. The Preface, however, does more 
than announce the author's views of this subject ; it explains 
the reasons which have led him to the present publication of 
his views. The immediate occasion for preparing the essay 
came, as we learn, from the recent appearance of Mommsen's 
History of Rome. The general merit of that extraordinary 
work is fully and even warmly recognized by Professor Ross. 
But he objects strongly to the opening chapters, complaining 
in severe terms of the " rash, confident, and overbearing 
manner" in which Mommsen dogmatizes " on the ante-his- 
torical period and the primitive history of Rome, on the 
sources of our knowledge concerning them, on the ethno- 
graphic relations of the Latins and other populations of mid- 
dle and southern Italy, on the early importance of the 
Etruscans, and all other matters connected with these " — a 
manner which (as he goes on to say) "makes it evident 
enough that he has not thought it worth while to give these 
subjects any serious investigation." The most important of 

* That is, of the American Oriental Society, at its meeting in November, 1858. 


Mommsen's errors, and the one specially combated in this 
work, is found in a passage quoted by our author, asserting 
that "philological researches teach us to distinguish three 
primitive ItaHan stocks, the Japygian, the Etruscan, and the 
Italican, as we may call it, the last of which divides itself into 
two main branches, the Latin idiom, and that to which belong 
the dialects of the Umbrians, Marsians, Volscians, and 
Samnites." Professor Ross, on the other hand, maintains 
(we give his own words) that "in all middle and southern 
Italy, up to Etruria and Umbria, so far as our knowledge ex- 
tends, but one great stock of languages — the Greek — pre- 
vailed, in different dialects ; so that Latins and Volscians, 
Sabines and Oscans, Messapians and Japygians, spoke noth- 
ing but corrupt Greek, and that admixtures of Greek are 
found even in the Etruscan." And again, he asserts, in an- 
other place, that " the Latin, Sabine, Oscan, and, in general, 
all the idioms of lower Italy, the Japygian and Messapian in- 
cluded, are nothing but Greek, corrupted in speaking, and at 
last written with differently formed alphabets ; and that all 
these idioms, and all forms of words developed in them, ran 
together at last into the Latin as sole heir to all of them." 
So certain and obvious does this character of the Italican 
idioms appear to Professor Ross, that from the failure of Bopp 
and his followers to recognize it he does not hesitate to infer 
the worthlessness of their methods. The passage in which 
Indo-European philology is weighed in a balance and found 
wanting is sufficiently curious to deserve extraction : 

" You will ask, indeed," he says to his friend, Professor Keil, " in 
what relation I stand to the Sanskrit, as I have placed upon the title 
of these letters the question whether the Latin was Greek or Sanskrtt, 
while in the following pages the Sanskrit is hardly mentioned. My an- 
swer is perfectly simple, ' I do not understand a word of Sanskrit.' But 
I comfort myself with the reflection that Mommsen and Curtius, whose 
statements have called out this tract, understand hardly any more of it, 
and have themselves been led by others into the path of error. The 
thorough learning of a language requires far too much time for a classical 
philologist to get it up in his spare hours : and with the mere skeleton of 
a language there is very little gained. How Sanskrit sounded in actual 
living utterance is probably pretty much unknown to our students 
of Sanskrit ; and without the living sound a language is a stiff corpse, 
which you may recognize, dissect, and understand, but can hardly set in 


motion or action. Of Sanskrit studies in general I have a pretty low 
opinion, for I do not see that, since they have come to flourish in Ger- 
many, and are represented in almost all our universities, they have pro- 
duced any important result, least of all any of a positive historical char- 
acter, unless it be the word ' Indo-Germanic ' — a designation hardly sus- 
tained even yet by sufficient grounds — with which so much speculation 
of all sorts {Wesen und Univesen, ' business and bother') has been car- 
ried on, and which after all says nothing more than that the European 
nations and their languages have their furthest roots in Asia — a fact 
known ever since the famous tower -building at Babel, only expressed in 
a different way. As all comparative philolog\', in the many volumes it 
has sent into the world, has never yet, to my knowledge, demonstrated 
in extenso, as I have done in these pages, that the Latin is only a mix- 
ture of different Greek dialects, written in other letters, and afterwards 
raised into a literary language — I am fully justified in thinking of it thus 
disrespectfully. I do not mean to deny that now and then a Greek 
or Latin form or inflexion may properly be associated and compared 
mth the Sanskrit, but the same thing can be done with other languages." 

By other languages which, according to Professor Ross, 
throw as much Hght as Sanskrit on the forms of Greek 
and Latin, he refers, as it appears, especially to the Egyptian 
and the Phoenician. He suggests an attempt to point out the 
Egyptian and Phoenician words in Greek and Latin, as a de- 
sirable antidote to the Sanskrit. And to this end he makes 
a beginning himself with a long list of words, in which, 
among others, vav<i navis, and trov'^ pes are traced to the 
Egyptian. That the same words are found in Sanskrit {ndu^ 
pad), and in Anglo-Saxon {itaca, fof), he would probably ex- 
plain, if his dislike of Indo-European philology would per- 
mit him to take notice of the fact, by referring to the con- 
quests of Sesostris. These he regards as the historical basis 
for the Greek mythus of Dionysus conquering India (a 
mythus, by the way, of which we find no trace before 
the time of Alexander), and in both — ^the Dionysiac myth and 
the supposed history of Sesostris — finds reason to believe that 
the language and religion of India may have been largely in- 
fluenced by those of Egypt; so that "the multiform 
and grotesque divinities of the Indians " (as he is pleased to 
term them, with an evident unconsciousness of the immense 
difference between the earlier and later mythologies of India), 
" instead of being older than the Egyptian, are perhaps after 


all only a disfigured copy of the latter." How this may be, 
we will not stop to inquire ; we will rather imitate the 
judicious forbearance of Professor Ross, who only throws out 
the suggestion, without entering on the proof. 

But we must be allowed to point out some misconceptions 
which appear in the passage just extracted. In the first place, 
he misconceives the significance of the term Indo-Germ^nic 
or Indo-European (which Bopp with good reason prefers to 
use) — so strangely misconceives it as to furnish ground for a 
suspicion that his frank and manly confession in reference to 
his knowledge of Sanskrit should be construed as extending to 
Indo-European philology. The term, he assures us, signifies 
nothing more than that " the nations and languages of Europe 
have their furthest roots in Asia." Now this in one view is 
saying too little : in another, too much. Too much : for it 
scatters the roots of Greek and Latin through the continent of 
Asia ; so that, in following the indications of this statement, 
we might look for them 'quite as much in Chinese and Man- 
chu as in Zend and Sanskrit : indeed. Professor Ross, as we 
have seen, finds thern still more in Phoenician and Egyptian. 
But this is not only not the meaning of the term Indo-Euro- 
pean : it renders the term absolutely unmeaning and absurd. 
Again, it says too little : for it fails to express the fact that cer- 
tain languages of Asia have, not only the same ultimate roots 
as the Greek and Latin, but also, what is vastly- more impor- 
tant as proving identity of origin, the same grammar to a 
great extent, the same systems of formation and inflexion.' 
We cannot help regretting that Professor Ross should have re- 
solved to learn no Sanskrit, because his other pursuits would 
not allow him to learn all. He says, indeed, that *- with the 
mere skeleton of a language very little is gained." But the pre- 
sent case, we think, furnishes clear proof to the contrary. If 
Professor Ross would get some friend, who knows the Sanskrit 
alphabet, to interline the paradigms of Bopp's Sanskrit Gram- 
mar with European equivalents for the oriental characters, it 
would be easy for him to read them all over in less than two 
hours. Among the nouns he would find such forms as Fern. 
vak^ ' speech,' in which he could not help recognizing the Latin 
vox : Gen. vdcas, Lat. vocis : Dat. vdce, Lat. voci : Ace. 


vacam, Lat. vocetn / Nom. PI. vdcas, Lat. voces, etc. 
Among the verbs he would find such forms as Aorist adixam, 
Greek eBei^a (originally eBei^av) ; 2d person adixas, Gr. 
ISetfe? ; 3d person adixat, Gr. eSet^e (originally eSetl^er) : 
Dual, 2d person adixatam, Gr. iBei^arov ; 3d person adix- 
atdm, Gr. iSec^aTijv: Plural, ist person adixama, Gr. iBei^a/iev ; 
2d person adixata, Gr. iSei^are ; 3d person adixati, Gr. 
eSei^av. We are greatly mistaken, if, after seeing such phe- 
nomena as these, which even the most cursory view of the 
Sanskrit paradigms would force upon his notice, he could re- 
gard them as adequately represented by saying that " the 
languages and nations of Europe have their furthest roots in 
Asia." And if he could be persuaded further to spend two 
hours or two days or two months on the languages of Egypt 
and Palestine, with a view to find in their grammars any fair 
offset or antidote to these Sanskrit parallels, we are greatly 
mistaken if after such an attempt he could still assert that the 
same comparison of Greek and Latin forms can be made with 
these languages as with the Sanskrit. We believe that a few 
hours of grammatical study applied in this way to the Sanskrit 
and other oriental languages, though he might only become 
acquainted with their skeletons, would effect a great change 
in his views of comparative philology, and that thus very much 
would be gained, if not for the cause of science, at least for 
the enlightenment and reputation of Professor Ross. 

But again, he misconceives the views of Indo-Earopean 
philologists as to the relation between Greek and Latin on the 
one hand, and Sanskrit on the other. He evidently regards 
them as deriving the Greek and Latin from the Sanskrit — as 
making this the parent language, and those its descendants. 
This is implied in theinterrogatory of his title-page, "Did the 
Romans talk Greek or Sanskrit?" According to him they 
talked Greek — that is, a language formed from the Greek : 
and of course he assumes that according to his opponents 
they talked Sanskrit — a langucige formed from the Sanskrit. 
But no philologist of reputation maintains, so far as we know, 
that the languages of Europe are derived from the Sanskrit. 
The Indo-European languages have many things in common 
— things which it would be absurd to attribute to accidental 


coincidence ; things which can only be explained as inherited 

from a common parent. But it is agreed on all hands, 
that neither the Sanskrit nor any other extant language can 
claim to be that common parent. The oldest of the Indo- 
European dialects are only descendants of the primitive 
mother. All of them have departed more or less widely 
from' the original type, modifying, omitting, and adding each 
in its own way. The common language from which all have 
sprung is to be reproduced, if at all, only by comparing all 
its descendants. And if in such a comparison we derive es- 
pecial advantage from the Sanskrit — more than from any sis- 
ter dialect, more than from the Greek, which in this respect 
yields only to the Sanskrit — the reason is, partly, that the 
early language of India is preserved to us in monuments which 
are at once very ancient and very copious ; and partly, that the 
Aryan people of India, having wandered less widely from the 
early home of their race, and being perhaps endowed by nature 
with less mobility of character and habit, seem to have pre- 
served the primitive roots and forms of their language with 
more tenacity than their kinsmen of the West, The original 
Indo-European language must have had an extraordinary 
abundance of undiscriminated synonyms, both in roots and in 
formative syllables. Among such synonyms, the languages of 
the West, as a general thing, take their choice, retaining each 
of them one root or form, and suffering the rest to drop. Or, 
if they retain more than one, it is usually by establishing some 
distinction of sense between them, so that they are no longer 
completely synonymous. The Sanskrit, on the other hand, 
certainly stands nearer in this respect to the primitive condi- 
tion. It presents — especially as found in the Vedas — a simi- 
lar copiousness of synonymous words and forms : a character- 
istic which of course renders it peculiarly valuable for the pur- 
poses of linguistic comparison. 

But let us proceed now from the preface to the sequel of 
Professor Ross's pamphlet. It will be observed that he 
thinks of Latin as holding to Greek much the same relation 
that French does to Latin. As French, though containing 
some non-Latin elements, is yet substantially Latin, only al- 
tered by time and corrupted by popular use : so Latin itself 



is in the same sense substantially Greek, only subjected to 
similar modifying and degrading influences. This he endeav- 
ors to prove by an extended lexical comparison of the two 
languages, Greek and Latin, embracing a large number of 
words, and conducted with an openly avowed and evidently 
sincere contempt for exact philological criticism. Of gram- 
matical comparison, between the systems of inflexion and for- 
mation in the two languages, we find but httle, though in a 
passing remark he acknowledges its importance. His strength 
is in numbers — the number of words which can be pointed 
out and put together as rfeally or apparently identical in Greek 
and Latin. "A twentieth," he says, " at the utmost, a tenth, 
of my comparisons, I am willing to surrender as still uncer- 
tain. Even then, if you take into account formations from 
radical words, derivatives and compounds, more than half the 
entire stock of words in Latin is shown to be Greek, and a 
key furnished for deciphering the rest. Quod erat devion- 
strandiim,'' he concludes with triumphant emphasis. Now if 
Professor Ross had not been so averse to a little knowledge 
of Sanskrit, a cursory examination of Bopp's Glossarium 
Sanscritiuji would hav^e shown him that the Latin words cited 
in that work, as more or less probably connected with words 
found in Sanskrit, make a list little less numerous than that 
of his index — a list which Bopp could easily have doubled, 
if his philological principles had been of the same easy and 
accommodating character as our author's. And yet, were it 
even quadrupled, Bopp would not have drawn the inference, 
which according to Professor Ross would be inevitable, that 
the Latin language was derived from the Sanskrit. He would 
only have seen in it additional proof of a fact, too clearly 
proved before to need confirmation, that the Latin and the 
Sanskrit are both descendants of a common parent. Profes- 
sor Ross must of course be aware that two languages may 
have a close and pervading lexical resemblance, without 
either of them being derived from the other. For French 
words we have to a great extent similar words in Latin : and 
the French language is in fact derived from the Latin. But 
again, for French words we have to a great extent similar 
words in Spanish : yet the French language is not derived 


from the Spanish. The Scottish bane is not of necessity de- 
rived from the English bone : in fact, there is no reasonable 
doubt that both have arisen independently from the Anglo- 
Saxon ban. The "Latin genu is not of necessity derived from 
the Greek yovv : it is at least equally supposable that both 
may have arisen independently from a third form — say ganu 
— which we find, though with a degradation of the initial gut- 
tural, in Sanskrit j'anu. If numerous resemblances exist be- 
tween the Greek and Latin, there are three possible supposi- 
tions to account for the fact. We may suppose, i. that Lat- 
in is derived from Greek ; 2. that Greek is derived from 
Latin ; or, 3. that Greek and Latin are separately derived 
from a common source. Professor Ross adopts the first of 
these suppositions as the true one : to prove it true, he was 
Taound to show, not only that the resemblances are numerous 
— for so they are between French and Spanish — but that they 
are of such a kind as to require the first supposition rather 
than the other two. It is a little surprising that he should 
have overlooked this obvious and capital necessity of his ar- 
gument. He has contented himself with showing that Greek 
and Latin words are related in form, assuming in general, 
without attempt at proof, that the Latin form was made out 
of the Greek by some euphonic alteration or corruption. 
Yet in many of these cases it is improbable, to say the least, 
that the Latin form should have had such an origin ; and in 
not a few, it is clear enough that the Latin stands nearer than 
the Greek to what must have been the primitive form. We 
will give one example from the multitude which offer them- 
selves to our hand. Professor Ross says in express terms, 
" The usual origin of the Latin j is directly {geradezii) from 
the Greek f." As one instance he gives us jugum, ' yoke ' 
(pronounced _;/«^?/;«), from the Greek ^uyov ; and at the same 
time refers, apparently with approbation, to a passage in 
Plato's Cratylus, in which ^i/yov is derived from Svo and dycoyij, 
as that which binds ' two ' animals for * drawing.' Probably, 
however, he would lay but little stress on this etymology, 
which is evidently conjectural, and is far from being support- 
ed by analogy. But what shall we say as to the main point : 
hasj'ugum arisen out of ^vyov ? The thing, it must be owned, 



has very much the appearance of a phonetic miracle. How 
a ^-rt-sound should transform itself to 7^, it is not easy to im- 
agine. We assume here that the Greek ^ had the ordinary 
sound of English z, for the real sound cannot have been far 
remote from this, and Professor Ross is fully satisfied that this 
and nothing else was the real sound. The opposite change 
from ya to za would not be difficult to understand ; for the 
j«-sound is closely connected with the palatals cha,ja, which 
contain a sibilant element and readily pass into sibilants. It 
is moreover attested by indisputable cases : thus the Latin 
juginn, which preserves its initial sound in Spanish yngo, be- 
comes giogo in Italian, with a palatal, 2lwA joug in French, 
with a sibilant at the beginning. Can any cases equally in- 
disputable be adduced for the change of za to ya ? for if it 
can be shown to have taken place, we must believe it possi- 
ble, even though we cannot understand the rationale. Our 
author presents no such cases, beyond two or three similar 
parallels between Greek and Latin words. Of these we need 
not notice Latin jungo referred to Greek ^evywfic, Latin jugo 
to Greek ^vyofo, Latin conjtix to Greek (rv^v^, which present 
the same root as j'ugum ^ir/ov, and of course only repeat the 
same question. The connection of Latin Jus, jiiris^ ' broth,' 
with Greek ^(o/mx;, ' broth,' ^copov, 'pure wine,' is made pretty 
doubtful by the difference of form in one case (^w/to?), and 
the difference of meaning in the other {^copov) : if admitted, 
we must still ask which was the primitive sound, y or z. The 
comparison of Latin jejuniis, ' fasting,' with Greek ev^wi/o?, 
' well-girded ' — scilicet, because a fasting man can more easily 
clasp his girdle — if made by an opponent of Professor Ross, 
would have seemed a broad burlesque of his view. Latin 
major is compared with Greek fiei^cov : but here it is evident 
that y has not arisen from ^, nor vice versa, but bothy and ^ 
from a combination yc, gi, or g/ : fiei^cov is for fie^Lav (com- 
pare i)(^p6<i, i^Suov), and major is for magior, magjor (com- 
pare the adverb magis, which retains the guttural). There 
remains Jupiter, Greek Zeu9 irarrip. But here it is plain that 
y and ^ are not derived one from the other ; but both from a 
common hi, dj, which appear in the Greek Genitive ^to?, 
AiFO<i, and in the Italican Diuvei=Jovi, to say nothing of the 


Sanskrit dyaus, Gen. divas, 'heaven,' which corresponds 
with wonderful exactness to the Greek ^eu?, Al{f)6^. It thus 
appears that the Greek and Latin parallels by no means re- 
quire us to assume, notwithstanding the phonetic difficulty, a 
change from ^toj. If other languages gave no testimony on 
the subject, or if, with Professor Ross, we closed our ears to 
their testimony, it would still be probable that the Initial ^ in 
^vyov is of later origin than the/ oijugwn. But the moment 
we turn to look at other languages, it becomes impossible to 
doubt. Even our author would probably shrink from main- 
taining that the Sanskrit ynga, the Gothic J7ik{ci), the Lithu- 
anian junga-s, and the Slavonic igo, all sho^ in their initial 
sound a corruption of the Greek f . 

A remarkable error which Professor Ross has made in this 
connection illustrates the danger of indulging too far in an 
ignorant contempt for Indo-European philology. Though he 
regards the j of Jupiter as a corruption of the t, in ^eu?, he 
justly recognizes the/ oi Jovis as having arisen from dj ; and 
in like manner identifies, no doubt with correctness, the divine 
names Atwvr) in Greek and Juno in Latin. But unhappily it 
occurs to him to go a step further in the same direction, and 
identify the 'Latin juvenis, 'youth,' with the Greek B to jev^<;, 
' akin to Zeus,' which occurs so often in Homer as an epithet 
of princes. Now here is at once a difference of form and a 
difference of meaning, either one of which might .-have de- 
terred a less adventurous and uncompromising philologist. 
Apart from the initial sounds, there is a variation of ending — 
the Greek stem being 8iojeve<;, not Btoyev, while the Latin 
stem isj'uven (seen in Gen. Flur. juven-tim), or, by a frequent 
assumption of i, juveni (hence Nom. ^\n^. jiiveni-sY Pro- 
fessor Ross, however, regards it as weak-minded to attach 
importance to such variations of ending or inflexion. Then 
the change of 7 to v might occasion some uneasiness to weaker 
consciences. True, we ourselves have guard an^ ward, gjiile 
and wile, guaranty and warranty. But in these, 7V was the 
original sound, which first strengthened itself by a prefixed 
guttural, but afterwards fell away : thus ward, gward,g{u)ard. 
A change in the opposite direction is not so lightly to be as- 
sumed. Yet if it were altogether common, we should feel 


some surprise at finding it just here. For the Latin has the 
root gen in gigno, genus ; and developes it, not less widely 
than the Greek, in a long series of derivatives and compounds ; 
it might be expected, therefore, in this word as well as in 
others, to preserve the well-known root in its per\^ading and 
familiar form. And, again, the connection of meaning be- 
tween ' one of Jove's kin ' on the one hand, and a ' young 
man ' on the other, is hardly close enough to tempt an ordi- 
nary' philologist to encounter the difficulties of form just 
enumerated. Indeed, it would seem as if Professor Ross 
himself were not entirely at ease about it. For.he adds, in a 
tone of confidence which sounds a little hollow, *^Yox juvetiis, 
I think I have given the correct explanation." Now here 
again the cognate languages supply us with testimony, which 
of course Professor Ross rules out of court, but which, if ad- 
mitted, must carry- overwhelming and decisive weight. The 
"LsLtin j'm'ents reappears with the same meaning and with little 
difference of form in nearly all the Indo-European language^. 
The Sanskrit stem ynvan may be pronounced identical with 
juven in the Gen. Plur. juven-um : for the short e and 6 of 
other languages are represented in Sanskrit by short a, that 
language having but three short vowels, a, i, H,. The San- 
skrit stem has moreover in part of its inflexion the contract 
{ormy an, which is completely identical with the root of the 
Latin comparative junior, as also with the Slavonic Jun, 
'youth.' The Lithuanian has jauna-s ; the Gothic, juggs 
{=jnng-s) ; and even the Welsh presents us icuanc, 'youth,' 
iau, 'younger.' We have here a word which must have be- 
longed to the primitive Indo-European language, since we 
find it in unmistakable identity from the banks of the Ganges 
to those of the Severn. The Greek only has suffered it to 
drop, supplying its place by another word not less early in its 
origin and not less extended in its diffusion, the adjective 
V609, or rather veFo<i, ' new.' A somewhat similar case of omis- 
sion is presented by the Latin in the words for ' son ' and 
'daughter.' The prevaiHng Indo-European designation for 
'son' comes from a root su, 'to beget,' found in Sanskrit. 
Hence Sanskrit sunu and suta, ' son,' Gr'eek v/o? for crv-Lo<i, 
Gothic sunu-s, Lithuanian sunu-s, Slavonic sjn. That for 


'daughter' comes, it should seem, from the root diih, 'to 
milk.' Hence Sanskrit duhitar, Greek J^vydrrjp, Gothic 
danhtar, Lithuanian dukte{r), Gen. duktere{s), Russian docj, 
Irish dear. These, now, the Latin has discarded, substituting 
for themj'f/zW 2.nA filia, which have been generally regarded 
as derivatives from the root seen in Greek (j)lXo^, ' dear.' This 
derivation, it must be confessed, is by no means certain ; 
though it seems to be more probable than the one proposed 
by Professor Ross, who takes films and filia from the Greek 
^vkiq, as if for ^v\io<i <j)vXia, with the meaning ' one of the 
family,' male or female. But Professor Ross goes further, and 
derives the Greek vto9 itself from the same ^yXto?. In this 
instance he departs from his usual practice : for he has to 
admit here that the Latin films is far nearer to the supposed 
original form, shows vastly less corruption, than the cognate 
Greek vlo'i. Probably the admission seems to him harmless, 
so long as the original form is seen to be genuine and unques- 
tionable Greek. But the manner in which he makes vl6<; out 
of (f)v\Lo<i is too characteristic to be omitted. First, the aspi- 
rate (f) passed into the spiritus asper — into h. For this change 
he adduces no parallel instance from the Greek, but finds it in 
the Latin herba for Greek ^op^iq, ' feed,' a comparison already 
made by others, but of doubtful correctness. He finds it 
also, and no doubt correctly, in the Spanish Jiablar from 
fabidari, hierro ixonx ferrum, hijo, {xomfilius. "Thus," he 
says, " the Greek made vKio<i from <^v\io<i : then X, was elided, 
and the i which arose in its place was absorbed by the pre- 
ceding V. Hence [yio^ or] with change of accent, vtos, to 
distinguish the word from ueio? [' belonging to swine']. The 
Itahan," he continues, "retained the old full form films == 
(})v\io^ ; but, as if to leave no doubt as to the identity of the 
word, the elided Greek form returns again letter for letter in 
the Spanish Mjo = vl6<:. Can all this," he concludes with 
natural exultation, "be made out and explained from the 
Sanskrit ? " Alas, no — we are forced to confess, at the risk 
of degrading the Sanskrit still further in his eyes — no, it can- 
not. But just as little can it be made out from Greek and 
Latin. It rests mainly on the Spanish. For the change of 
<p to /i no Greek example is given ; for the disappearance of A, 


between two vowels, no Greek or Latin example. But the 
first occurs in Latin, and both are frequent in Spanish ; and, 
therefore, we need not hesitate to recognize them, both at 
once, in a single Greek word. 

We have said that it is the general practice of Professor 
Ross, in his comparisons of words, to give priority to the 
Greek form, and to represent the Latin as made from that by 
additions, retrenchments, and other alterations. It would 
even seem as if he regarded such words as sex, scdes, 
somniis, etc., as made from e|^, eiSo?, vttvo^, by prefixing an s / 
and words like vimnn, volvo, etc., as made from oii/09, eiKvw, 
by prefixing a v. For though in his lists of these words he 
puts the Latin form first, and thus appears to give it the pri- 
ority, yet he tells us further on, |:hat "the Italican idioms 
sometimes, though not often, prefix to the Greek vowels 
other consonants than s or z/," which would seem to imply 
that, after all, the s and v were really nothing but prefixes 
added to the corresponding Greek words. We are willing, 
however, to regard his expression in this case as an unob- 
served inaccuracy of language. For an opinion so perverse 
ought not to be fixed on any scholar without the clearest 
evidence. But there are cases beside that of i/to'9 from ^yXto?, 
in which he distinctly acknowledges corruptions in the Greek 
form which do not appear in the Latin. Thus he admits that 
the Greek has dropped an n in the common verb ea<t», * to 
permit,' and the Homeric adjective ei;?, ' good' (whence the ad- 
verb ev, ' well '). These words he identifies with Latin sino and 
bonus. Whether he considers the s and b as added by the 
Latin or dropped by the Greek, does not distinctly appear. 
Nor in regard to the n do we clearly understand why he 
speaks of it more than once as having been restored to these 
words by the Latin. Can he suppose that the Latin received 
the words in the forms seao and bciis, or sio and boits, and 
reinserted the n which had before fallen out ? How came 
they to put in the precise letter which had been lost, rather 
than some other one ? Or is this only a further instance of inac- 
curacy in expression, similar to that which charity compelled 
us to assume a moment since ? As to the identity of kaa and 
sino, of eu? and bomis, we will allow it to rest on Professor 


Ross's authority. We can more confidently indorse his com- 
parison in another case where he admits the corruption of the 
Greek form : we refer to the genitives 'yeveo^; in Greek and 
generis in Latin, from the nominatives 'ye.vo'i, gemis. Yet even 
here he does not escape from his besetting inaccuracy of ex- 
pression : for he describes this as one of the cases in which 
" the Latin inserts a Hquid, /, 71, or r, between two vowels — 
which liquid," he continues, "must therefore have existed 
originally in the Greek form." Why, if it existed in the ori- 
ginal Greek form, the Latin should have been compelled to in- 
sert it, does not appear. But perhaps our author only means 
that the Latin has it there and the Greek has not — though at 
an earlier period, as he thinks, the Greek also had it. But in 
this point again we cannot fully concur with him. For we 
think it certain that the Greek yeveo<; never at any time had 
an r in it : that it has arisen, not from yevepo^, but from 
yevea-o<i. In proof of this we shall not appeal to Sanskrit 
neuters in -as, Gen. -asas, which correspond to Greek nouns 
in -09, -eo9 : as manas, Gen. inanasas^^G:x&€^ fi€.vo<;, Gen. 
tieveo<i (for jneveao^). Professor Ross is proof against proof 
of this kind, however convincing to others. But there 
is no need of it here. We have only to mention three 
facts which our author himself would not think of dispu- 
ting : I. The Greek Nom. <y6vo<; has s, which is most natu- 
rally explained as belonging to the stem, since neuters of the 
third declension have no case-sign in the Nom. Sing.; 2. The 
Greek, while it retains p between two vowels, has in a multi- 
tude of cases dropped o- standing in that position : as riSeai, 
Tt^j for TcSeaat ; 3. The Latin, though it does not drop s 
between two vowels, has in a multitude of cases changed it 
to r: as in Lares, earlier Lases {Carmen Fratrum Arvaliuni) ; 
erant, Greek ^aav (t). ♦ 

Our author's eagerness to derive every Latin form directly 
from a Greek one, coupled with his fixed resolution to know 
nothing of Sanskrit, has betrayed him into many palpable 
errors. Even where the words which he compares are really 
connected, he often misconceives the relation between them. 
Thus he brings the Latin bibo directly from the Greek TrtW, 
. assuming that both ir and v are changed to b. A change 


of TT to ^ involves no particular difficulty : but the change of v 
to b is not so easily admitted, and even our author calls it 
vereinzelt, ' isolated.' He seems not to have observed that 
dido has the appearance of a reduplicated form, analogous to 
sisto. In the latter verb, s^a, the stem-syllable, by redupli- 
cation becomes sista, which then allows its final a to be treated 
as a mere connecting vowel, and thus conforms to the third 
conjugation. The stem of ttiW, tto (as we find it in ireiraKa, 
iroTos;), if treated in the same manner, would give Trnro) or 
dido. This derivation of dido, which would appear, even 
without reference to the Sanskrit, a plausible hypothesis, is 
converted into absolute certainty when we turn to that lan- 
guage : for we find there that the root/«, ' to drink,' follows 
the third or reduplicated conjugation, though instead of the 
regular pipdmi, it makes Present pivami, and in the Vedic 
dialect pidami, thus approaching very closely to the Latin 

Again, our author in many cases overlooks a certain or prob- 
able connection between the two languages, substituting for it 
a superficial and illusory comparison. Thus the Latin cere- 
brum is set down as a corruption of the Greek iyK€<l>a\ov, 
'brain ;' though we must say, in justice to Professor Ross, 
that he adds an expression of doubt. But surely, if he had 
not been so intent on making every Latin word to be an 
actual Greek word, only more or less corrupt, he would have 
connected ceredrum with Kapa. ' head,' even if he did not ex- 
plain it with Bopp as a compound of cere, xdpa, Sanskrit 
gtras, with fero, (f>6pa), Sanskrit d/iri, meaning ' head-borne, 
carried in the head ' — equivalent to eyKe<j>a7u)v, though wholly 
distinct in etymology. 

The Latin /nua, ' moon,' is repeatedly identified with the 
Greek a-e\.r]v7}. Now we have already noticed the relation of 
Latin sex and Greek ef, serpo and epirco, salio and aXXofiai, to 
which fifty more might be added of the same kind. We see 
how tenaciously the Latin preserves the initial s, and how 
readily the Greek sacrifices it, unless connected with another 
consonant, as in o-KaTrTu, o-reXXtu, etc. If a is retained in avv 
and its compounds, the reason is obvious in the earlier form 
^vv, where we find it connected with k. That aek^vrj itself has 


preserved the initial a-, is owing probably to a consonant j-, 
which must originally have followed it ; for it coincides in 
root with Sanskrit svar, another form of sur, ' to shine.' 
Yet along with a-ekrjvr], we have the personal, or rather the 
diving name 'EXevq (moon-goddess), which is probably the 
same word, but with the ordinary Greek mutation of initial 
a to h. If, therefore, hina had been the Greek form, 
and (Tekrivq the Latin, the connection of the two might have 
appeared more plausible ; as it is, we must regard it as in a 
high degree improbable. But, if unconnected with each 
other, neither of the two is without connections in the other 
language. Luna is for hic-na (compare lumen for luc-meii), 
connected with lux and luceo in Latin, and with X€vk6<;, 
Xeiaao) in Greek. And a-ekrjvq, on the other hand, is con- 
nected with aeka<;, * brightness,' which is clearly akin to 
the Latin sol. These obvious relations our author has over- 
looked, in consequence of his determination to connect every 
Latin word directly with a Greek word of the same meaning. 
The Latin opus is represented as identical with the Greek 
eVo?, ' word,' the exact correspondence of form and inflexion 
being regarded as decisive proof of identity, notwithstanding 
a pretty wide difference of meaning. Why our author should 
lay so much stress here on coincidence of form is not quite 
easy to understand : for with the almost unlimited range 
which he allows to mutations of form, such coincidences might 
easily arise by accident in words originally different. And in 
fact he himself says elsewhere, in opposing some etymologies 
of Mommsen, that "like-sounding is not necessarily of like 
sort" {gleichlautetides nicJit nothwendig gleichartig isi) : and 
proceeds to illustrate the maxim by giving three different ex- 
planations to the sul \n consul, cxsul, 2sv(S. prcBsul : pr(Esid=. 
prce-silicns, ' leading in the dance ; ' ex sul=ex solo, ' driven 
out from his native soil ; ' while consul is only a corruption of 
the Greek — (xvti^ovKo'i^ Xvv and con are one preposition, 
and ^Gvko'i, by a simple change of /S to s, comes very near to 
sul. But in speaking of opus and eVo?, he says that " where 
letters and inflexion both coincide, we cannot refuse to 
acknowledge the identity ; " and he mentions Latin sidus, 
* constellation,' and Greek elho^, ' form, figure,' as another in- 


stance of the same kind. Unluckily the .supposed coinci- 
dence does not exist in either case. £ZSo? is not for creiSo?, 
but for /-etSo? : the original f is abundantly proved by the ap- 
pearances of the Homeric verse, and by the close relation to 
elSoi/, ' I saw,' where Professor Ross justly recognizes it^ com- 
paring Latin video. So, too, eTro? is really F€7ro<i : no word in 
Homer presents more unquestionable traces of the initial f, to 
say nothing of inscriptions which show us the letter itself. 
But i^7ro9 cannot properly be said to coincide in form with 
opus, unless we are willing to say that \e7r09, * peel,' or i/aTro?, 
' glen,' coincides with o/)us : and even in meaning these are 
not much further away than eTro?. We will venture here to 
offer a suggestion, A Sanskrit root like d/>. Professor Ross, 
we fear, would reject with scorn. After deriving mas, ' male,' 
from Greek fid')(\o^, ' wanton,' by omission of ^ ^^^ change 
of \ to r (though, by the way, masailus shows the Latin stem 
to be, not mar, but mas^,^Q. says to his correspondent, " if 
that won't do, make me another mas : but, mind you, he 
must be Greek {aber lifohlgemerkt , griechisch tntiss er seiti)." 
Now we wonder that he did not find his Greek opus in kotto^^ 
which has the meaning 'toil, fatigue.' The decapitation of 
the word (if I may so term the suppression of initial k) he 
could defend by Latin apcr, which he identifies with Greek 
Kairpoq. And the neuter ending ns (3d decl.) instead of mas- 
culine 09 (2d deck), if it gave him any trouble, could be sup- 
ported by Latin corpuSy corporis, ' body,' which he derives 
from Greek /cop/to?, Kbpfwv, ' a block cut from a tree. ' And 
yet it is almost a pity to say anything against the eiro^i-opus 
etymology : for thereby hangs an interesting piece of literary 
history, which we give as we find it. "According to these 
analogies, opus is nothing but eTro?, and we gain the conclu- 
sion, certainly not unimportant for Greek literary history and 
the question as to the antiquity of Greek hterature, that, 
in the earliest period, e7ro9 had passed from the meaning 
' word ' to the meaning ' work of poetry,' and hence ' work ' 
in general : for only thus could it come to the Italican opus. 
As, therefore, in the last centuries opera, 'work,' has passed 
into the opera of music and poetry, so in opus the opposite 
change must have taken place from three to four thousand 


years ago." But we must add that evro?, though unconnected 
with opus, has its kindred in Latin. The same root mir ap- 
pears in the aorist etTrov, Homer eretirov for eFepeirov ; and, 
with a regular variation of vowel, in the noun 6-^, that is, 
Foir-^, 'voice.' But no one who observes how often the 
Greek has substituted a labial sound for a primitive guttural 
can hesitate to identify fott-? with Latin vox, voc-is, whence 
the verb voce, vocare. This unquestionable connection is over- 
looked by our author, who derives voce from Greek ySoaw, ' to 
cry.' He must certainly have forgotten the Latin boo, boare, 
which corresponds exactly in form and in meaning to Greek 
^odm. Both these have a common derivation, either directly 
from ^ov<i, bos ; or, more probably, from a root ;Su= Sanskrit 
gu, ' to sound,' from which /Sov<? bos are also derivatives : in 
any case they are radically distinct from voco and elirov. 

We will mention further an interesting, not to say amusing, 
derivation of popidus. Professor Ross considers it as a 
diminutive of ttotto'}^ a word which occurs only in the Homeric 
exclamation w ttottoi. This has been regarded generally by 
recent grammarians as a. mere interjection; but our author 
contends, not without force, from its connection with w, and 
its appearance only at the commencement of addresses, that 
it must have been a real vocative. But he discards the ex- 
planation of ancient grammarians, who make it mean 8ai/u.ov€<i, 
* divinities,' and adopts out of his own head the meaning 
'men, people.' It thus serves him a double purpose, not 
only accounting for popu/us, but also iox piipiis, pupa, pupulus, 
'a boy or girl, a mannikin or doll.' At the same time, he 
does not altogether discredit the statement of Plutarch that 
the Dryopes used iroiroi for Baifiove^;, ' divinities ; ' and that of 
a grammarian in Bekker's Anecdota, that the Scythians used 
it for aydXfiaTa, ' images.' He suggests in explanation that, 
as the oldest idols of the Dryopes were certainly pretty rude 
and inartificial, people may have given them the name of 
mannikins ; and that the Greeks may have ridiculed the 
Scythian images by the same disparaging epithet. And if 
Zeus in Homer commences a speech to the divine assembly 
on Olympus with w iroiroL, our author looks upon the address, 
' O folks ' {oh leutchen) as a flattering expression of familiar 



confidence {I'ertraulich und schmeichebid). He fails to ob- 
serve that c5 TTOTTot is used by Homer even in addresses to a 
single individual, showing that it must already have lost its 
meaning, if it ever had any, as a plural substantive, and sunk 
down into a mere exclamation. Nor does it strike us as very 
probable that the Dryopes would call their sacred images 
puppets, or that the Italicans would designate the collective 
nationality as a little man. Considering these improbabili- 
ties, as well as the total absence of direct proof for the mean- 
ing ' men ' given to TroTroi, we shall adhere for the present to 
the etymology which makes popuhis a reduplicated form of the 
stem which appears in ttXco)?, ' full,' 7r\7}^09, ' multitude,' and 
perhaps in ttoXa?, ' city. ' 

It must be evident already that Professor Ross is one of 
those resolute philologists who are not easily turned aside 
from their purpose by vowels and consonants. He laughs 
good-naturedly at his weaker brethren, who trouble them- 
selves about anlaut, inlant, ablaut, umlaut, and all the other 
lauts. For himself, he has no idea of paying too much 
respect to letters and syllables ; he has in fact the lowest pos- 
sible opinion of their steadiness. This is a result of his exten- 
sive and valuable travels in lands and islands where Greek is 
spoken. The endless variations of the local dialects have im- 
pressed him deeply with the extreme mutability of spoken 
sounds, and have thus given him what he regards as a peculiar 
qualification for his present undertaking. He commences his 
Preface with a long list of corrupt forms, brought together 
out of the various and widely separated patois of the modern 
Greek : and he has no difficulty in admitting such corruptions, 
any or all, as means for effecting the proposed transmutation 
of Greek into Latin. In particular the modern Greek Kapa- 
<j>\6<ij ' bald,' for the ancient <i>aXaKp6<i, has convinced him that 
the order in which the letters of a word may stand is pretty 
much a matter of indifference, and that so long as you have 
all of them in one aggregate, or most of them, or others more 
or resembling most of them, you need not concern your- 
self about the particular succession. The transposition of 
vowels and liquids — tnetathesis^is an ordinary and familiar 
phenomenon of language. But our author's transpositions 


take a far wider range. Thus verto is derived from rpeiroi by 
spelling the root backwards, Tpeir — pert, and by change of/ 
to V, vert. The Latin word is thus made to illustrate its own 
meaning by a complete turn-about : and if the Sanskrit has 
the same form vai^t, Present vartdmi, it may perhaps be 
ascribed to a certain original perversity in that mischief-mak- 
ing language. The adjective rax^'i, ' swift,' by a similar pro- 
cess is converted into x^'^'^^i which readily furnishes citus : 
though the Latin word, if we could suppose it endowed with 
consciousness, might feel some surprise at this sudden disrup- 
tion from cio, ' to move, stir,' with which it has been so long 
and so comfortably connected, and the total revolution which 
it is compelled to undergo. The 'La.tin famuhis is derived by 
transposition of yu- and X, and by interchange of rough mutes, 
from Greek BaXafi,o<i, 'chamber.' That a valet-de-chainbre 
should be called simply and shortly chamber, is perhaps not 
incredible ; yet we must confess a preference, on the score 
both of form and meaning, for the derivation from facio — 
famulus for fac-mulus , with the same ending and the same 
omission of a guttural as in stlmtihis for stig-miihis , which 
Professor Ross refers, probably with good reason, to the root 
of Greek o-ti^co, ' to stick.' In some cases we should be much 
at a loss if our author were not kind enough to explain his 
processes. In BL^frd(o, ' to thirst,' he assures us (we quote his 
words) that " the tt falls out, the a and B are transposed, and 
thus we get aiSdo), Latin sztio." In alcr^dvofjiac, * to perceive,' 
the Future ala^rjao^ai gives evidence of a Present acaSeco, 
which is supposed to be for ava^ew : and this, by transferring 
a from the middle to the beginning of the word, gives aav^ew, 
from which any one can easily find his way to Latin setitio. 
In other cases the explanation itself requires to be explained. 
For the Greek 4%^y9, ' fish,' he assumes a change oi 'y^ to i^, 
giving v^v^ (which has remained, he thinks, in the common 
word o'^ov, 'fish, or flesh eaten with bread'), and then he 
adds : " From l-^v<i the Italicans by transposition formed 
their /w«.y." We have tried to spell the word ti/rt»9 in every 
possible order of the letters : but we have not yet succeeded 
in making out the form piscis. Manage as we will, there is 
always a «=c wanting. May it not be that the Italican se- 


cured his piscis by an ingenious combination of the real t%-9y? 
with the supposed 4i/ri;9, getting his / from one and his c from 
the other ? And were the Goths then obHged to go through 
with the same process, which certainly is a little complex, 
to form \h€\x fisk{^d)s, which corresponds exactly to the Latin 
piscis ? 

We will only add two or three cases to illustrate further the 
startling originality and the bold defiance of difficulties which 
characterize Professor Ross as an etymologist. The Latin 
amnis, ' river,' he derives from Greek aeX-Xa, * blast ' ('stream 
of air,' and hence ' stream of water ') ; and in like manner 
omnis, ' all,' from Greek doWijf;, ' collected together ; ' in 
both he assumes, without other examples, the rather remarka- 
ble euphonic change of \X into ;«;/. Amo, ' to love,' he derives 
from Greek dyairo), through a supposed intermediate form 
arfK(t), which most philologists would regard as still inconve- 
niently and discouragingly remote from amo. Amicio, '' to 
clothe,' he derives not from am and jacio, ' to throw around,' 
but from Greek dficficivvvfii. The prefix am is doubtless con- 
nected with afj.<f)i : but few philologists would venture to de- 
rive icio from evwfii (or Feo-vvfii) ; even our author only 
states the fact, without adding an explanation. Of course he 
could give one, if called upon : did he think it too easy and 
obvious to require insertion ? He does better for us, when 
he derives duco, ' to lead,' from Greek riyeoixai : for he gives 
us the Etruscan luciimo, derived from Greek rj^efjicDv, as a key 
to unlock the enigma. The /, he tells us, takes the place of a 
spirit us aspcr : but / and d are often interchanged (as lacrima 
= BdKpv/jLa) ; and the vowel-change is supported by /una from 
aekrjinj : and thus — all is clear. 

It must not be supposed from what we have said that Pro- 
fessor Ross recognizes no such thing as fixity or permanence 
in language. Whatever else may change, one thing has re- 
mained constant from the beginning, secure "amid the wreck 
of letters and the crush of words ;" and that is the modern 
Greek pronunciation of vowels, consonants, and diphthongs. 
" I consider it," he says, " as being from the time of Inachus, 
or whatever else may be more ancient than Inachus, the only 

correct pronunciation." All honor to courageous faith ! It is 


something, as the world goes, to believe in the historic reality 
of Inachus, a millennium earlier than the earliest known mon- 
uments of the Greek language. But it is much more to be- 
lieve that the Greeks, wheti they first adopted the Phoenician 
alphabet, added a v only to express a sound already ex- 
pressed by I ; and that, having afterwards applied the ?; to ex- 
press the long quantity of this same sound, they were not yet 
satisfied, but took up et, 774, ot, ut, as four additional represen- 
tatives of a sound which had three representatives already : 
and then that the old Greek grammarians should have made 
the enormous blunder of describing this sound, when repre- 
sented by 17, as a prolongation of e : with much more of the 
same kind, which is inseparable from a belief in the primitive 
antiquity of the modern Greek pronunciation. It is not 
surprising, perhaps, that early prepossession and patriotic en- 
thusiasm should lead the modern Greek to credit such mar- 
vels : though in a distinguished member of our own Society, 
who has written on the ancient pronunciation of his language, 
we see that such influences are not always proof against in- 
vestigation and reason. But we should hardly have expected 
that Professor Ross's travels in Greece, extensive and useful 
as they have been, would so far transform him into a native 

We have seen that our author, though always disposed to 
regard the Latin word as the corruption of an' extant Greek 
word, is yet obliged to acknowledge that in some cases the 
extant Greek word is the corruption of a form more faithfully 
preserved in Latin. Nor is there any good reason why he 
should not have done this much more frequently. For he 
holds that the separation of the Greek and Itahcan races oc- 
curred at a very remote period, ages before the time at which 
the Greek language first becomes known to us. He sup- 
poses that the Greek colonization of Italy may have com- 
menced some two thousand years before the Christian era, 
and perhaps far earlier. And though he regards it as having 
J^een in progress for several centuries, he intimates that 
nearly all the words which passed from Greece to Italy must 
have been carried over before the Greek itself was reduced to 
writing. And the Greeks, he tells us, had the art of writing, 


and used it, for fifteen centuries before Christ. Professor 
Ross, it appears, believes in Cadmus as well as Inachus, and 
perhaps in tradition generally : he thinks it very hard that 
Daedalus, for instance, should be stripped of his individual 
historic personality, and made to be only what his name 
means, a ' cunning artificer,' merely because he was unfortu- 
nate enough to Hve a few centuries earlier than some other 
men. Possibly a respect for tradition may have led him to 
assign a date so early for the Italican migrations. For he 
might naturally think that a body of tradition, which he ac- 
cepts as reliable, would have included these migrations, if 
they had not been in great part anterior to its beginning. 
Let us then take the year 2000 B.C. as a convenient middle 
term between the extremes of time suggested by his lan- 
guage : his theory would be, that two thousand years before 
Christ, be the same more or less, the Greek language was 
carried into Italy. But what, we may ask, was the Greek 
language of the year 2CXX) B.C. ? It might be hard to tell ; 
but it would be easy to see that it was something widely dif- 
ferent from the language of Homer. For if we carry Homer 
back to the year 900, and he cannot with probability be car- 
ried further, he is still separated from 2000 B.C. by a broad 
gulf of eleven centuries. What was English eleven centuries 
ago ? Something quite as hard for us to understand and 
learn as modern German. Who from the English of the 
present day, or the French or German of the present day, 
could without other helps form any tolerable conception of 
those languages as they were eleven centuries ago ? Our 
author, it is true, appears to regard the Greek of 2000 B.C. 
as not very different, either lexically or grammatically, from 
the literary language. The division of dialects he conceives of 
as already established at that early period. But what assu- 
rance can he give that even the grand distinctions which sepa- 
rate Ionic and Doric — the 17 for long a among vowels, 
and the o- for a primitive t among consonants — were developed 
eleven centuries before the time of Homer ? Yet he goes so 
far as to point out Laconian forms in the Italican idioms, and 
asserts that the Sabines were mainly Laconians. The philo- 
logical reason for this statement, which has no support in tra- 


dition, must be that some Sabine words are thought to re- 
semble the pecuhar forms of the Laconian dialect more closely 
than they do the other dialects of Greek. But many Latin 
words have a closer resemblance to the Sanskrit forms than 
to those of any Greek dialect : as septem, Sanskrit saptan, 
Greek kirra ; j'ugum, Sanskrit yugam, Greek ^v7oV ; j'eair, 
Sanskrit yakrit, Greek ^irap ; corvus, Sanskrit kdravas, 
Greek Kopa^ ; and a hundred others. Shall we say then that 
the Latins were mainly Hindus ? 

But the comparative philologist can prove conclusively that 
the Greek of 2000 B.C., assuming that the Latin was derived 
from it, must have differed immensely from any known Greek 
dialect of the historic time. For in cases where the Latin 
agrees with the prevailing type of the Indo-European lan- 
guages and the Greek departs from it, this departure, it is 
plain, could not have belonged to that supposed Greek lan- 
guage which was imported into Latium. To assert that the 
original type was first abandoned in Greece and afterwards 
restored in Italy (as our author appears to do in one or two 
places, if his language is to be strictly construed) is a gratui- 
tous assumption, and an improbable one. We can only bring 
forward here a few prominent facts to illustrate the mode of 
reasoning just indicated, and for convenience- we will give 
the name " Graeco-Italican " to that primitive Greek (if Greek 
it was) from which the Italican idioms are supposed to have 
sprung, and which our author imagines to have been the 
spoken language of Greece about 2000 B.C. We say then 
that this Graeco-Italican must have preserved the initial s 
before a vowel, which all the Greek dialects have changed 
into /i : thus it must have had sex not e^, serpo not epiro), 
sistdmi not larTj/jLi, and many others. So too it must have 
preserved the medial s between vowels, in many forms where 
all the Greek dialects omitted it, and where the Latin has 
changed it to r : thus nusos, ' daughter in law,' not 1/U09, 
Latin nurtts ; visos, 'poison,' not to?, Latin virus ; genesos, 
* of birth,' not yeveo'i, yevov^, Latin gciicj'is. It must have 
preserved the final in, which all the Greek dialects have 
changed to v, or (after a) have dropped altogether: thus 
dvom, 'egg,' not oiov, Latin ovum; patcram, 'father,' not 


irarepa, Latin patrevi ; esiem, 'I might be,' not eXr]Vy Old 
Lat. siem ; esam, ' I was,' not ^a or ^v, Latin eram for esam. 
It must have preserved the final /, which all the Greek dia- 
lects have rejected, but which the Latin retains either as / or 
d: thus esiet, 'he might be,' not eirf, Old Lat. siet ; esant, 
' they were,' not rjaav, Latin erant for esant / alyot, ' other,' 
not dWo, Latin aUiid. It must have preserved the conso- 
nant y, which, after producing a multitude of euphonic 
changes, vanished from all the dialects of Greek, but which 
the Latin retains or changes to i ; thus ytigonu, 'yoke,' not 
^vyov, 'LdXmjugUM ,' jepar, or rather y<3>^«r, 'liver,' not rfirap, 
l^atin Jecnr y salyomai, 'to leap,' not a\Xop,ai, Latin salio. 
In the inflexion of nouns, the Graeco-Italican must have had 
a case which in all the Greek dialects has vanished from case- 
inflexion, the ablative in t, Latin d : thus doldt, 'from art,' 
Oscan doliid, Old Latin dolod=-dolo ; mictot 'from night,' 
Latin node, earlier nocted. In the comparative degree of 
adjectives, it must have had the form ions. Gen. ionsos, or 
iyo7is, Gen. iyonsos, like Sanskrit iyans, Gen. iyasas. From 
this ending the Greek in all its dialects omitted the s, leaving 
lov (Nom. ccov, lov), Gen. toi/o? ; while the Latin omitted the 
;/, leaving ws, dosis, which afterwards became tor, tor is. 
Thus to Sanskrit mahiydnsas, 'greater' (Nom. Plur.), cor- 
responded a Graeco-Italican jnagi[y)onses , Greek /lei^ove^, 
Latin ma(g)joses, which is expressly handed down as the 
earlier form of majores. In the verb it must have preserved 
the old infinitive in tnm, tu, which remains in Latin as in 
Sanskrit, but which in all the Greek dialects appears only as 
a verbal noun, without the proper character of an infinitive. 
It must have preserved likewise the old perfect participle 
passive in tos, which remains in Latin as in Sanskrit, but 
which in all the Greek dialects appears only as an adjective, 
without the proper character of a participle. 

This enumeration of a few leading points may suffice to 
show that the supposed Graeco-Italican must have differed 
very widely, not only from the known dialects of Greek, but 
also from the common or unitary Greek language, out of 
which these dialects sprang, and to which we may ascribe 
such features as belong alike to all of them. Now we cannot. 


with any approach to certainty, assign the period at which 
this unitary Greek began to undergo the changes which re- 
sulted in the formation of its various dialects. But one thing 
we can say with entire certainty, in view of such evidence as 
that just presented. We can say that the period here referred 
to, however remote it may have been, was long subsequent 
to another — to the period when the assumed Graeco-Italican 
began to undergo the changes which terminated at last in the 
formation of the Greek with its dialects on the one hand, and on 
the other in the formation of the Italican idioms, Latin, Oscan, 
Umbrian, and the rest. Our Graeco-Italican is thus driven 
far back into the darkness of an ante-historic past. When 
our author asserts that it was spoken in Greece and carried 
over by sea from Greece to Italy, he asserts that which may 
be true, though he is very far from having proved it so. 
But when he puts it later than the formation of the Greek 
dialects, and makes it in fact a mixture of those dialects, he 
maintains that which is certainly and demonstrably untrue. 
The real question for philological study at the present time is, 
whether there was any such Graeco-Italican, distinct from 
the primitive Indo-European language ; in other words, 
whether there was any special relation between Greek and 
Latin, more than between either of them and the Armenian, ' 
for instance, or the Gothic. It has been, and still is, the pre- 
vailing opinion that there is a special relation between Greek 
and Latin ; that both have sprung from a common Graeco- 
Italican, distinct from, and of course posterior to, the primi- 
tive Indo-European. This view is set forth in the works 
both of Mommsen and of Curtius. But there are respectable 
philologists who maintain the opposite opinion. 

Before concluding, we ought, perhaps, to offer a word of 
apology. We have, perhaps, fallen below the dignity of this 
occasion, in giving an extended notice of a work so slight 
and unimportant — -a work proceeding, it is true, from an ac- 
complished classical scholar, and a justly esteemed traveller 
in classic lands, but unworthy alike of his position and his 
reputation. Possibly some little mixture of the light or the 
amusing may be found to season not disagreeably the or- 
dinary gravity of our assemblies. We will not confess here — 


we are ashamed to own it even to ourselves — a certain secret 
satisfaction in finding that Germany — before which we hide 
our diminished heads, acknowledging her to be first without 
second in philological studies — can send out from the high 
places of her universities specimens of fantastic absurdity 
scarcely equalled on this side of the Atlantic. A more legi- 
timate pleasure may be derived from a book which allows us 
to see the immense difference between the present and the 
past — between the Indo-European philology, with all the de- 
ficiencies and uncertainties that cleave to it, and the unscien- 
tific and unsatisfactory etymologizing that preceded it. If 
at times we grow wearj^ of the twilight in which we still move, 
and sigh with despairing hope for the perfect day, it may be 
well that a Professor Ross should come, and open for us a 
glimpse into the darkness visible, the realm of chaos and old 
night, which we have left behind us, as we trust, finally and 




IN order to understand fully the relations of the Indo-Euro- 
pean languages, we need to know the forms of that primi- 
tive speech from which they have all set out on their diver- 
gent progress. Hence it must be the object of comparative 
philology to reconstruct the original Indo-European language 
as it was spoken by the common ancestors of Hindu and Per- 
sian, Greek and Goth and Gael. That this is an object not 
to be easily or soon attained, is obvious enough : it is rather 
an ideal to be aimed at than a result which we can expect to 
see realized. In any such attempt-at reconstruction, the first 
point must be to determine the phonetic system of the primi- 
tive language ; what elements of sound were heard and utter- 
ed by our forefathers in that early time when as yet Sanskrit 
and Greek, German and Celtic, had no separate existence. 
It may seem at first view almost chimerical to think of re- 
calling the fugitive sounds of a period so remote from our 
own ; but it must be remembered that their echoes have been 
sounding in Asia and Europe down to the present day. By 
comparing the phonetic systems of the different Indo-Euro- 
pean languages, we may ascertain in many cases with a high 
degree of probability the phonetic elements which belonged 
to their common mother. I propose to give_ a specimen of 
such inquiries, by discussing the aspirate mutes of the original 
Indo-European language. Did that language possess aspirate 
mutes ; and if so, what were they, and how were they sound- 
ed ? First, then, let us see what letters- of this class we find 
in the various languages, especially the ancient languages, of 
our family. 

The Sanskrit has the greatest abundance of aspirate mutes. 
In this language and in its modern descendants, every unas- 


pirate mute, whether surd or sonant, has its corresponding 
aspirate, made by pronouncing after it the sound of h ; at 
least, such is the modern pronunciation. Thus, of surd mutes, 
along with k, we have kh; with /, th ; with /, ///. And in 
like manner of sonants ; along with^, gh; with d, dh ; with 
b, bh. We have also aspirates for the so-called " cerebrals," 
lingual sounds peculiar to India, and borrowed probably by 
the Sanskrit-speaking people from languages which they found 
in that peninsula — sounds produced by turning the tip of the 
tongue far back into the mouth : thus, without aspiration, /, 
d ; with aspiration, ///, dh. Even the palatals r,/ (as in our 
church, judge), which are not exclusively mutes, but contain 
a fricativft element, have their corresponding aspirates, ch,jh. 
These aspirates, as sounded in the living languages of India 
and in the traditional Indian pronunciation of the Sanskrit, 
have a compound character ; they are made up of the unas- 
pirate mute with an //-sound distinctly audible after it. It is 
conceivable, however, that these letters may have changed 
their sound in the course of ages, and that the living 
pronunciation of the old Sanskrit may have been something 
quite different. This, then, is a question which requires to 
be considered : whether there is reason for believing that the 
ancient pronunciation of these letters was materially different 
from the modern. Now if they were not originally com- 
pound aspirates of the kind just described, they must in all 
probabiHty have been simple spirants, like our f and v and 
our two sounds of /// (surd in //////, sonant in this). In that 
case, the aspirate corresponding to k would have sounded as 
German cJi (in machen) or as modern Greek ^ 5 the aspirate 
of g, as 7 in modern Greek X0709 ; the aspirates of / and d, as 
the two sounds just described of English th ; the aspirates of 
/ and b, as /and ?/ respectively. It might be urged in favor 
of these sounds that, in the Sanskrit alphabet, the aspirate 
mutes are represented by single letters — a procedure which is 
perfectly natural if they were in reality simple sounds, like/, 
V, and the rest, but is somewhat surprising if they were com- 
pounds containing a distinctly audible //. But this argument 
is much more than balanced by others on the opposite side. 
Thus, it would be difficult to find simple spirants which should 


answer to the cerebrals, t, d ; to pronounce anything like our 
th with the tip of the tongue bent back to the roof of the 
mouth seems almost a physical impossibility. It would be 
perhaps even more difficult to imagine any spirants which 
should answer to the palatals c,j. Besides, if the letter which 
is now pronounced ph was anciently pronounced f, we must 
recognize a change of sound from / to ph. But this seems a 
very improbable change, and cannot be supported, so far as I 
know, by any certain example. And if it is hard to suppose 
that such a change should have occurred in one case, how 
much harder to assume it for the whole series of mutes, surd 
and sonant ; to admit that v has passed into hh, and th (as in 
this) into dh {d-h), and so throughout. We should have to 
suppose, too, that the change took place over the whole ex- 
tent of northern India, in Bengali, Hindui, Marathi, and other 
languages, varying widely from each other, but none of them 
preserving any of the supposed original spirant mutes. But 
there is another circumstance which strongly supports the tra- 
ditional pronunciation, by making it probable that these letters 

■ contained an audible /^-sound ; and this is that even in the 
Sanskrit we find them occasionally changing into h. This is 
true particularly of those which, as we shall see further on, 
are the most important of the whole series, the aspirates of 
b, d, and^. Thus the common root haii, ' to kill,' shows in 
many of its derivative forms that it was originally £-han. The 

. word hansa, ' goose,' is proved by the Greek %7;y and the 
German gans to have been originally ghansa. The original 
ending dhi oi the imperative, 2d sing., which corresponds to 
Greek Qi in ctttjOi, cadi, is preserved in many Sanskrit verbs, 
but in many others it becomes hi. The pronoun niahyam, 
* to me,' is proved by the analogy of tubhyain, and also by 
the analogy of those case-endings which contain the ^/z-sound, 
to have been originally mabhyam ; though in this instance 
the change to h might seem to have been much more ancient, 
and to have preceded the separation of the languages, since we 
find it also in the Latin mihi as compared with tibi. These 
changes of the aspirate mutes to h have been carried to a 
much greater extent in the Prakrit dialects, which supplanted 
the old Sanskrit in the mouths of the people some centuries 


before the Christian era. In these the surd aspirates, as kh 
and ///, have also been reduced in many cases to a mere h. 
Now it is true that in some languages a spirant sound — -f, for 
instance, or ch — has passed into // / but a movement of that 
kind so general as we have seen it in the languages of India 
is a thing unexampled and almost incredible. But if the In- 
dian aspirates were what tradition shows them, compounds of 
mutes with a distinctly audible h, then the change we have 
described is a perfectly intelligible and natural phenomenon. 
It is merely slurring and sinking one element in the phonetic 
compound. The h was perhaps uttered with a degree of 
force which threw into the shade, and at length totally eclipsed, 
the mute sound that preceded it. We are brought to the 
conclusion, then, that the letters in question could not have 
been simple spirants, but must have sounded in ancient, very 
much as they do in modern India, like the unaspirate mutes 
followed by a clearly pronounced h. 

The argument here drawn from the change of aspirate mute^ 
to // seems unfavorable to certain views which have been re- 
cently expressed by Lepsius in a valuable memoir on the 
sounds of the Arabic language and the mode of representing 
them in occidental characters. Speaking of the Sanskrit as- 
pirates, he recognizes their compound character, as differing 
from the unaspirate mutes only by an added breathing : but 
this added breathing he holds to be nothing more than be- 
longs regularly to the/, t, k of the English and the German. 
He declares, indeed, that English, French, and German have 
no tenues, but only aspirates and mediae ; their /, /, k are 
not tenues, but aspirates. And he says that he cannnot see 
how /, for instance, can be more fully aspirated than it is in 
the German tan, ' cable,' or than, ' dew.' On the other hand, 
he tells us that the Hungarians have true tenues, but no aspi- 
rates. The Greek and Sanskrit had both tenues and aspi- 
rates : they had one/, for instance, pronounced in the Hunga- 
rian manner, and another/ in the EngHsh. Now it is true 
that in forcible enunciation we speak our/, /, k with a sharp 
explosive utterance which approaches perhaps to the charac- 
ter of an aspiration. At the same time, it seems almost ab- 
surd to suppose that an /i could arise from these letters, pro- 


nounced as we pronounce them. If the sHght trace of as- 
piration which we sometimes give to these letters should 
become constant, and then should be intensified «o as to bear 
a measurable proportion to the proper mute sound, the latter 
might in time fall away and leave only the h. But the sub- 
stitution of this sound for the original mute could only come 
about by some such process. It may be considered certain 
that, before the Sanskrit aspirates passed into Ji, they had 
assumed sounds in which the aspirate element, the h, was 
vastly more prominent than anybody can reasonably suppose 
it to be in our English/, t, k. But if they had such sounds 
when the change to h took place, it would be difficult to say 
when they did not have them. For some changes of this 
sort are to be found even in the earliest Sanskrit ; and in 
maJiyam for mabJiyani (Lat. inilii for mibi) we have a case 
which perhaps goes back beyond the formation of the San- 
skrit itself. 

If now we turn to the ancient Bactrian, the language of the 
Zend-Avesta, we find aspirates, both surd and sonant, as in 
the Sanskrit. Their use, however, seems to depend in a great 
degree on euphonic conditions, so that in kindred roots they 
do not correspond with regularity to the aspirates of the Sans- 
krit, the Zend often showing an aspirate mute where the 
Sanskrit has the unaspirate, and vice versa. Whether they 
were pronounced with a distinct Ji sound is a point which it 
might be hard to determine in reference to an ancient lan- 
guage which has left no direct descendants, and which is so 
imperfectly represented by documents. 

Coming next to the Greek, we find the three aspirate mutes 
^, Q, ^. In the present pronunciation of the language these 
are spirant letters, with the sounds of/, English th surd, and 
German cJi. There is reason to believe that this pronuncia- 
tion goes back at least to the time of the later Roman Em- 
perors. In many inscriptions of that period, the Greek ^ is 
represented by a Roman// which never was the case in 
g^rlier times. The Latin grammarian Priscian, about 560 
A.D,, tells us that the sound then expressed by /was origi- 
nally signified by p with an aspiration (that is, by ph). This 
original ph, he adds, was retained in the Latin writing, of 


Greek words, as Orpheus, but changed to/" in the writing of 
'•Latin words, as fania. He thus implies clearly that he re- 
garded the /// of Orpheus and the f oi faina as substantially 
identical. In fact, he says in another place that the lips are 
more firmly fixed in pronouncing /// than in pronouncing f, 
and this is the only difierence between / and ///. Here the 
expression " this is the only difference " seems naturally to im 
ply that he regards the difference as not considerable. Now 
the Latin f was unquestionably a spirant ; and if the Greek ^ 
in Priscian's time was likewise a spirant, we can hardly doubt 
that at that period the Q and the ;^ had the same character, 
though we have not the advantage of being able to compare 
them with any similar sounds in the Latin. 

But tliere is a variety of considerations which go to show 
that these letters were not originally sounded as spirants, but 
like the Sanskrit surd aspirates, as compounds of /, /, k with 
a distinctly audible //. In the first place, I may mention the 
fact that they are never doubled, but that tt^ is used for 0^, 
tQ for QQ, 'cxfor ^(X- The spirant sounds are easily doubled. 
Thus Saf-fo offers perhaps less difficulty in pronunciation than 
Sap-fo. But if was sounded as/-//, then it must obviously 
have been almost impossible to double the aspiration. The 
organs closing on the first /-sound would open with the 
second, which would then be followed by its aspiration {^Sap- 
p-ho) ; and this would give the sound of tt^, not o(<f><f>. In the 
second place, these letters have actually arisen in many cases 
from the combination of a smooth mute with a rough breath- 
ing. Thus a^' ov, ' from which,' has arisen out of utt' ov ; 
€0o8o9, * approach,' has arisen out of cttoSc?. There can be no 
doubt whatever that these were once sounded ap hou, ep- 
hodos : the only question would be one of time — when did 
they change from ap hou to af ou, from ep-hodos to cfodos? 
In the third place, two of these letters were originally written 
as compounds of a smooth mute with a following h — thus, 
as JTH, and ;^ as KR — a mode of writing abundantly attested 
by extant inscriptions. When letters are first used to write 
a language, they are used according to phonetic principles : 
the presumption certainly is that the IT and K and H had the 
same sound in these combinations that they had elsewhere. 


As to Q, the grammarians tell us that this also was once 
expressed, like the other aspirates, by TH. But this state- 
ment is not borne out by the evidence of inscriptions, and is 
not probable in itself. The truth appears to be that, as the 
primitive Semitic alphabet had two signs for t, one for the 
ordinary lingual and the other for an intensive variety of it, 
the Greeks from their first adoption of Phcenician characters 
employed the second to express their own aspirate t. And it 
was probably the fact of their having already a simple charac- 
ter for this aspirate that led them afterwards to invent simple 
characters for the other two. Should any one wish to infer 
from this adoption of simple characters that the sounds repre- 
sented were likewise simple, we need only point to the double 
consonants f and i/r to show the hazardousness of such an 
inference. In the fourth place, we must attach some weight to 
the well-attested difference between the Greek (/> and the Latin 
f. Thus Cicero, it is said, in pleading for Fundanius, ridi- 
culed a Greek witness on the other side, because he could 
not even pronounce the name (Fundanius) of the accused 
party. This perhaps might not necessarily imply that there 
was anything more than a slight difference between the 
Latin letter and the Greek. But it is a more significant cir- 
cumstance, that for centuries the Greek (/> is never represented 
by a Latin// if the difference between the two sounds was a 
slight one, it is strange that, with the constant occasion to ex- 
press Greek words in Roman writing, the familiar/" should not 
occasionally be used for a sound approaching nearly to it. 
And in the fifth place, the preceding argument is confirmed 
by a similar fact in relation to the Coptic. The alphabet of 
this language, like the Roman, has what is believed to be a 
spirant/.- but this letter is never used in transcribing the 
Greek proper names Philippos, Philotera, and the like. The 
Greek <^ itself is borrowed by the Coptic for this purpose. 

These arguments in their collective weight seem to be deci- 
sive, and to make it certain that the Greek aspirates were 
once sounded as the surd aspirates of the Sanskrit. It is true 
that this conclusion involves one pretty serious difficulty — a 
difficulty presented by the familiar combinations ^B and ')(Q. 
It is well known that, before Q, the Greek not only allows ^ 


and ;!^ to stand unchanged {€ypd<f>dr}v, erv^O'qv), but even 
changes tt and fi to 6, k and 7 to ;;^ {iirefK^d-qv , i\e')(6r]v). 
These combinations, 60, 'yB, with the spirant pronunciation, 
are natural and easy; but to pronounce/--^-/-//, giving each 
of the four letters its proper sound, appears well-nigh impos- 
sible. It would seem that euphony must require us in 
such cases to give up the first aspiration, to say ird {p-t-h) in- 
stead of ^9, and k6 {k-t-Ji) instead of x^- This, in fact, is the 
prescription of Sanskrit euphony. I must confess my inability 
to offer any satisfactory solution for this difficulty. We might 
suppose that the earliest Greek had ird, k6, and that these 
were changed by assimilation into ^9, 'x9, after the aspirates 
had assumed their present spirant sounds : but this would 
carry the spirant sounds so far back that they would precede 
the time of transcription into Coptic and Latin, and we should 
be unable to account for the peculiarities just noticed in that 
transcription. However this may be, it can scarcely be 
doubted that there was a time when the Greek aspirates dif- 
fered from the smooth mutes only by the addition of an h- 
sound. They were thus, as before remarked, identical in 
sound with the surd aspirates of the Sanskrit. But it is a 
curious and important fact that, in roots and words common 
to both languages, it is almost always the sonant aspirates of* 
the Sanskrit, rarely the surd, that correspond to the Greek ^, 
9, 'x^. Thus Greek <f)V(o answers to Sanskrit root d/mi / Greek 
<f>epa) to Skt. root d/tar/ Greek tlBtj/xc, root 9€, to Skt. root 
d/id / Greek ov9ap to Skt. udliar, our udder ; Greek iXayy^t 
'small,' to Skt. laghus, 'light;' Greek e;;^*?, 'serpent,' Skt. 
ahis for aghis. The Sanskrit roots and stems which have surd 
aspirates, if they reappear in Greek, appear there almost al- 
ways with tenues instead of aspirates : thus Skt. stJid, Greek 
era in i(rrr}fj,i, not a9a ; Skt. pritJuis, Greek TrXari;?, \ broad,' 
not 7r\a9v^ ; Skt. root spJuir, ' to tremble,' Greek (nraipa, 
acnraipo}, not a(paipto. It should be said also that, among 
the Sanskrit roots and stems which have these letters, there 
is a very large proportion which have not been satisfactorily 
identified either in the Greek or in other languages of the 
Indo-European family. 

Passing on now to the Latin, we seem to lose sight almost 


completely of the class of letters under discussion. The only 
Latin mute of this species is the labial/". It appears to be 
certain that, from the time of our earliest notices, this letter 
was no compound of a smooth mute and rough breathing, but 
a simple spirant, not differing essentially from our English /", 
It is true that, from the expressions of Quintilian and Priscian 
in relation to it, Corssen has inferred, with some appearance 
of probability, that it was pronounced with a very loose and 
imperfect contact between the upper teeth and lower lip, so 
as to have a particularly rough or aspirate sound. But this 
belongs to the special coloring of the sound, not to its general 
nature, and is unimportant in relation to our present inquiry. 
It concerns us more to observe how it corresponds to the 
Greek and Sanskrit aspirates in words which belong to the 
Latin in common with those languages. At the beginning 
of words, the Greek 0, Sanskrit bJi, appears in Latin as _/.• 
thus Skt. root bhaVy Gr. (pepo), I^at. fero / Skt. bJiratar, Gr. 
(f)pari]p, \^dX. fi'ater. But a Latin initial /"corresponds also in 
a number of cases to Gr. Q, Skt. dJi : thus Gr. 6vpa, Skt, 
dvdrani for dhvdram, Lat. fores ', Gr. d7]p, \.-A.t. fera. But 
the Greek initial ;!^, Skt. gJi or h, is usually represented by 
Latin h: thus Gr. ^et/ictji^, ' winter,' Skt. hinias, ' snow,' Lat. 
Jiiems. In the middle of a word, on the other hand, the 
aspirates of the Greek and Sanskrit usually appear in Latin 
as unaspirated sonants ; that is, as b, d, g. Thus Gr. a/xcj^a), 
'both,' Skt. ubhdu, Lat. ambo ^ Gr. 6p66<;, 'straight, steep,' 
Skt. urdhvas, Lat. ar dints ; Gr. Xeiyw, 'to lick,' Skt. root lih 
for Ugh, Lat. lingo. It is instructive to look at the words for 
* red ' in these languages. _ The Greek has ipv6p6<;, the Sanskrit 
riidJiiras, showing a primitive rudh or pvQ. In Latin, the 
lingual aspirate passed into a labial, which appears either aSa 
an unaspirated sonant, in ruber, or as an aspirate surd, iiiH 

If in Latin. we find the aspirate mutes reduced to a mini- 
mum in the single spirant/", we are met by a still more com- 
plete deficiency when we turn to the languages of North- 
eastern Europe, to those of the Letto-Slavic class. The /"it- 
self is wanting in the Lithuanian and in the Old Slavonic, and 
in both, the aspirates of the Greek and Sanskrit appear regu- 


larly as unaspirated sonants, as b, d, g. Thus Gr. ^vvi, Lat. 
fui, Skt. root bhu, Lith. inf. butt, 'to be,' O. S. byti ; Gr. 
^parrjp, 'LdX. f rater, Skt. bhrdtar, O. S. bratru, Lith. brolis, 
broterelis ; Gr. kpvQpos, ' red,' Skt. rttdhiras, Lith. raudonas, 
' red,' O. S. riidyeti, ' to redden ; ' Gr. hiii-)(k'r], ' mist, cloud,' 
Skt. megha, O. S. inigla, Lith. niigld. 

In the Celtic languages, we are struck at first view^with the 
great abundance of aspirate mutes. For each of the three 
tenues, /, t, k, and for each of the three medials, b, d, g, we 
have corresponding aspirates, which in the Irish are written 
ph, th, ch, bh, etc. These are sounded, not as compound 
aspirates, but as simple spirants. The proper spirant sounds 
of the ih and dh, though corrupted and lost in the modern 
Irish, are preserved in the Welsh. We find, however, on a 
little examination, that the use of these aspirates depends on 
euphonic conditions and principles peculiar to the Celtic lan- 
guages, and that they do not correspond, save rarely and ex- 
ceptionally, to the aspirates of the Greek and Sanskrit. 
These latter, indeed, are represented in the Celtic languages 
precisely as they are in the Letto-Slavic, by b, d, g. Thus, 
for Gr. </)i'(u, Skt. root bhu, we have Ir. bi ; for Greek 
(^parrip, Skt. bhrdtar, O. Ir. brdthir, ' brother ; ' for Gr. 
ipvdpo^y Skt. rudhiras, O.W. rhud, 'red;' for Gr. ')(eipMv, 
Skt. himas, O. Ir. gaim, O.W. gauam, 'winter.' 

Turning now in the last place to the Germanic languages, 
we find much the same state of things as in the Celtic. The 
Moeso-Gothic, the oldest specimen of this class, has spirant 
mutes, but those only surd. Thus it has the labial / ; it has 
the lingual th surd (as in thin), represented by a single char- 
acter. For the palatal spirant ch, it shows the simple breath- 
ing h. In the further development of the Germanic languages, 
we find added to these their corresponding sonants, the sounds 
of V, th in this, and gh. But even the aspirates of the 
McEso-Gothic, like those of the Celtic, are of secondary 
origin ; they do not connect themselves with those of the 
Greek and Sanskrit. The Germanic languages stand here on 
the same footing with the Celtic and the Letto-Slavic. They 
show unaspirated sonants, b, d, g, in place of the Greek and 
Sanskrit aspirates. Thus in our be and brother, compared 



with <^v(o and ^parr)p ; in red, compared with ipv6p6<; ; and in 
goose, Germ, gans, compared with ')(yiv, xvvo<; (apparently for 

After looking thus at the different branches of our family, 
we are prepared to take up the question whether there were 
aspirates in the primitive Indo-European language. If they 
were found only in the Sanskrit and the Zend, we might sup- 
pose that they had sprung up in the Aryan or Indo-Persian 
branch after the separation of the other branches. But the 
fact that they appear in Greek, and that the same roots and 
words which have them in Greek have them also in Sanskrit, 
compels us to carry them back to a more ancient period, 
to times when the mother-tongue of Greek and Sanskrit was 
yet undivided. Possibly, however, it might be imagined that 
the languages of Northern and Western Europe, the Letto- 
Slavic, the Germanic, and the Celtic, which present only 
medials in place of the Greek aspirates, were separated from 
the common stock at a yet earlier period, while the ancestors 
of the Greeks and Hindus continued to live and speak 
together ; and that it was then, after the separation of those 
former branches, that this class of letters began to develop 
itself But even this hypothesis will be found untenable. 
For our Germanic languages, while they have lost the primi- 
tive aspirates, afford yet very curious indications of their 
primitive existence. If we take the Greek words 6vpa, Bvo, 
and Tpei<i, and look for their English equivalents, for dvpa we 
have door, for Svo, two, for rpet?, three. If, prior to the 
separation of the Germanic languages, the word door began 
with d, we ought in English to have toor (as for primitive hvo 
we have two) ; if in the same period it began with /, we ought 
in English to have thoor (as for primitive Tpel<i we have three). 
So with the series Gr. ^t/V, Eng. goose, Gr. 7€w?, Eng. kin, 
■ Gr, Kvcav, Eng. Jimmd : if the ante-Germanic goose began 
with^, we should have koose in Eng. (like kin) ; if it began 
with k, we should have Jioose (like hound). But these series 
are only examples of a general law of consonant relations 
.(Grimrri's Laiitverschiebung). We see then that the Ger- 
manic languages represent the aspirate mutes of the Greek in 
a different manaer from its tenues and mediae ; from which it 


follows that the aspirate mutes were already distinct from the 
tenues and medise before the Germanic branch came to 
be separate from the parent-stock. And this is equivalent to 
saying that there existed in the Indo-European language, 
prior to the separation of its branches, a class of mutes dis- 
tinguished from the unaspirated surds and sonants, a class 
represented in later times by the surd aspirates of the Greek 
and the sonant aspirates of the Sanskrit. 

It now remains for us to ask how this peculiar class of 
mutes was pronounced in that primitive language. Had they 
simple spirant sounds, like our/and v and our two ///'s, or were 
they, like the Greek and Sanskrit aspirates, compounds of 
tenues and mediae with an audible //-sound ? That they must 
have had one or other of these two characters can hardly be 
doubted, when we see what sounds have proceeded from them 
in the linguistic history of our family. Nor can there be 
much doubt that they had the character last-mentioned, that 
they were in r<eality compound aspirates. If the spirant 
sounds were the earHest, it would be strange that we should 
not find them either in the Greek or in the Sanskrit, which 
present to us the most ancient specimens of Indo-European 
speech. And besides, if the spirant sounds were the earliest, 
we should have to suppose both in Greek and Sanskrit such 
changes as that from/ to/-//, from v to b-h, etc. — a supposition 
which has been already characterized as forced and improba- 

But there is still another question to be considered. We 
have seen that the Greek aspirates were surd, made up of a 
smooth mute and rough breathing. Yet we have seen that 
in corresponding words and forms they answer to the sonant 
aspirates of the Sanskrit, made up of a middle mute and 
rough breathing. Which now was the original pronuncia- 
tion ? Did the primitive Indo-European give to the root of our 
verb to bear the sound of pJiar as in Greek (f>ipa), or of b/iar 
as in Skt. bharami? Now the foregoing survey has shown 
us that in nearly all the great branches of our family the 
primitive aspirates are represented by sonant letters. Thus 
the labial aspirate of the original language appears in San- 
skrit as bh, in Zend as bh or by in Letto-Slavic, Germanic, 


Celtic, and partly in Latin, as b : only in Greek, and partly 
also in Latin, does it appear as a surd, //^ or/. Here, then, 
we find strong reason for believing that the Indo-European 
aspirates were originally sonant, bh, dJi, gJi. And accord- 
ingly this opinion has been generally adopted by the most 
eminent philologists : by Curtius in vol. ii. of Kuhn's Zeit- 
schrift(i853),by Boppin the second edition of his Comparative 
Grammar (1856), and by Schleicher in his recently published 
Compendium of Comparative Grammar (1861). 

Only one voice, so far as I know, has been raised on the 
other side. Kuhn, in a late number of his Zeitschrift (vol. xi. , 
1862, p. 302 ff.) reviewing Schleicher's work, expresses his dis- 
sent from the commonly-received view, and his belief that the 
primitive aspirates were surd, as in Greek. In Sanskrit, he 
thinks, they have been generally weakened into sonants, 
while the surd aspirates of that language are mostly of later 
origin : though in some cases he holds these to be remnants 
of primitive usage. His reasons he only indicates in a brief 
sketch, promising to exhibit them more fully at some future 
time. They are in part directed against a view which I sus- 
pect that no one entertains : namely, that the Sanskrit surd 
aspirates were not only produced after the sonant, but were 
actually developed out of them in the same words and forms. 
This may, not improbably, have occurred in some exceptional 
and anomalous cases ; but it is quite certain that the mass of 
surd aspirates did not originate in this way. Let us look then 
at his other reasons, which may be reduced to three. First, 
if the primitive aspirates were sonant, then in Greek they 
must have changed to surd. But this is a change from weaker 
to stronger sounds, and is therefore unnatural and improba- 
ble. There is doubtless force in this argument. The change 
from sonant to surd is certainly less probable than a change 
in the opposite direction. And yet there are abundant and 
striking examples of the less probable mutation. It is enough 
to mention that in the Germanic languages, by the first Laut- 
verschiebwig, all medials have passed into tenues {tzvo for hvo, 
etc.) ; and that the modern Armenian pronounces all the 
medials of the ancient language as tenues, making up for this 
by pronouncing all the old tenues as medials (thus the ancient 



Tigranes\% the modern Dikratt). Second, whenever new, un- 
original aspirates have arisen in the Indo-European lan- 
guages, they have always been surd aspirates, never sonant, 
though sonant aspirates and mediae have often been developed 
from them in the progress of time. The remark has refer- 
ence especially to the Germanic and the Celtic languages. Of 
the first I believe it to be strictly true ; but not altogether so 
of the second. The sonant aspirates of the Irish and Welsh 
have not been developed out of surd aspirates, but out of 
mediae. It is not even quite certain, in case of the Irish, that 
they are of later development ; for though the earliest monu- 
ments have ov\y ph,^th, ch, the aspirates of /,^, c, yet there 
are not wanting indications that the b, d, g had already un- 
dergone a change analogous to the aspiration of the/, t, c. 
Still, I think it more probable that in the Celtic, as in the 
Germanic, aspiration began with tenues, and that medial as- 
pirates were of later growth. And the presumption thence 
arising of a similar progress in early Indo-European times is 
not without its force. Third, he says that if the surd as- 
pirates have arisen from the sonant, it is very strange that 
in a number of cases the Sanskrit ph, th, kh correspond to 
Greek (/>, Q, %, and this partly in forms which, like verb-end- 
ings, go back to the beginnings of linguistic formation. Of 
Greek and Sanskrit words thus related, the number yet 
pointed out is not large, and in part of them there may be 
no real etymological connection. In some, we may suppose 
that, by an exceptional and anomalous change, the Sanskrit 
hJi, etc., has passed into ph, etc. In others, it may be that 
both languages have independently changed the tenuis into a 
surd aspirate, p into ph, etc. : for it could easily be proved 
that such changes have been frequent in both languages. As 
regards the verb-endings referred to by Kuhn, it is curious to 
compare the Greek and Sanskrit forms. The Sanskrit has 
the sonant dJi in several endings : in the 2d person sing, 
imper. active, dhi corresponding to Greek Ot ; in the first 
person plural of the middle, mahe, inahi (originally madhe, 
madhi), corresponding to Greek fieda; and in the 2d person 
plural middle, dhve, dhvam, corresponding to Greek ade. 
Here the relation of the aspirates is regular and constant. 


But it is not so where the Sanskrit has the surd th. To be 
sure, thdm in the 2d person dual of the middle answers to 
cOov in the Greek, though for crOov^ adrjv, of the 3d person 
dual the Sanskrit has tdjn. So t/ia in the second person 
singular perfect active may correspond to Gr. 6a in olada, 
fjcxOa, e(p7}a6a, KkaiotaOa. But for thds in the 2d person 
singular of the middle there is no corresponding aspirate 
form in Greek, and as little for tkas in the 2d person dual of 
the active, and for tha in the 2d person plural of the active. 
So that in verb-endings the surd aspirates of the Sanskrit do 
not appear to stand in any definite and satisfactory relation 
to those of the Greek. 

But to my own mind these arguments, giving them all the 
weight which they can possibly claim, seem insufficient to 
balance that general consent of the Indo-European languages, 
by which, in all except the Greek and partly the Latin, the 
original aspirates are represented by sonant consonants. 
The only way, as it seems to me, to weaken the overwhelm- 
ing weight of this fact, would be to show that the sonancy 
may perhaps have arisen from the aspiration ; that there is a 
tendency in such an aspiration to change a preceding tenuis 
into a medial, so that we might expect an original//^ to pro- 
duce a b rather than a/, an original th to produce a d rather 
than a t. Now there are some facts which might lend a color 
to this view. In the Irish language there are certain influ- 
ences which change an original /, t, c into pJi, th, ch : aspi- 
rating influences, we may therefore call them. But in the 
kindred Welsh, /, t, c, under the same conditions, pass into 
b, d, g ; the aspirating influences have here changed the 
surds into sonants. That the influences in question tend to 
aspiration even in the Welsh is evident from the fact that 
they change an original Welsh b into v (=bh), an original 
d into dd{=dh), an original^ into a spirant ^^ sound, which 
has disappeared from the language. A very curious parallel 
to these phenomena of Celtic euphony is presented on Ro- 
manic soil, among the descendants of the Latin, in the dia- 
lect of Central Sardinia. Here, too, we find that the same 
euphonic conditions which aspirate an initial b, d, g change 
an initial/, t, c into the sonant b, d, g. Thus boe, ' ox,' pre- 


r ceded by the indef. art. unu, gives U7m oe, ' an ox,' the aspi- 
l rated d disappearing in pronunciation ; hut />6veni, ' pauper,' 
: with the same article, »hu boveru, ' a pauper.' If these 
^ analogies would authorize us to assume that there is a pho- 
" netic tendency in an aspirated /, /, ^ to pass into b, d, g, we 
[ might suppose with plausibility that the original aspirates, 
which have produced h, d, g in so many classes of languages, 
- were not bh, dh, gh, hutp/i, th, kh, as Kuhn supposes. 

I confess, however, that these analogies do not seem to me 
as yet definite and extensive enough to be fully relied on. In 
the present state of the question, I regard it as probable that 
the primitive sounds under discussion were sonant rather 
than surd. 




I PROPOSE to occupy a short time in describing the dif- 
ferent riiethods used in dififerent languages of the Indo- 
European family for making a future tense. The contrivances 
resorted to for this purpose are for the most part intelligible 
to us ; and in their variety we may find a striking illustration 
of that abundance of resources which the makers of language 
(and that is only another term for the users of language) have 
always had at their disposal. The facts which I shall have to 
present are generally known ; but it may not be uninteresting 
or unsuggestive to see them brought together and exhibited 
in one view. I shall not, of course, undertake in this paper 
to give all the expressions which are used in any one of the 
languages mentioned to convey the idea of futurity. Such 
an attempt would be almost without limit. We shall consider 
merely those modifications of the verb by inflection, compo- 
sition, or use of auxiliaries, which are most constantly and 
regularly employed to refer the action expressed by the root 
of the verb to a time posterior to the present of the speaker. 

Let us, at starting, cast a glance outside of our own class 
of languages, at those of the Semitic family. Here, at first 
view, a remarkable promirtence appears to be given by the 
grammatical organism to the idea of future time. For, while 
the system of verb-infiection embraces only two tenses, one 
of these, and the one most extensively used, goes by the 
name of " future." But this first appearance is hardly borne 
out by a closer scrutiny, directed to the actual use of the 
tense-forms; for this so-called future does service also as a 
present, and even, under particular conditions, as a past tense. 
And, in fact, Ewald in his Hebrew and Arabic grammars de- 


nies it the name of a future. According to him, the proper 
office of the two Semitic tenses is to express, not past and 
future, but finished and unfinished action. Thus an action 
thought of as finished, at whatever time, past, present, or fu- 
ture, is expressed by the Semitic perfect : and, in hke man- 
ner, an action thought of as unfinished, or thought of without 
any idea of completion, is expressed by the Semitic future, 
to whatever time it may belong, whether future, present, or 
past. This theory, which goes far to account for the seem- 
ingly irregular and capricious use of the tenses in the Hebrew 
and its sister-languages, has found many adherents : it ap- 
pears even in the recent editions of Gesenius's Grammar, pub- 
lished by Rodiger. In the Hebrew Grammar of Dr. Nord- 
heimer, we find a view essentially the same as thia, but with 
an ingenious and interesting modification of form, which in a 
measure reconciles it with the old established view. In this, 
the Semitic perfect and future are made to represent, not 
strictly past and future time, but prior and posterior action — 
action prior and posterior to some assumed stand-point or 
dividing position: — this assumed stand-point, or dividing posi- 
tion between prior and posterior, being often coincident with 
the immediate present time, or instant of speaking, but very 
often also some different epoch suggested in the context. 
The main peculiarities in the Semitic tense-system, according 
to his view of it, would be : first, the freedom with which 
this dividing-point is allowed to shift its place, and to take up 
any required position ; and, second, the fact that every action 
is thought of as preceding or following, never as contempo- 
raneous with, the moment of time thus fixed upon. It is not 
my purpose, however, to enter upon any discussion with re- 
ference to these points of Semitic grammar, but only to draw 
attention to the fact — which is equally true, whatever theory we 
may adopt in accounting for it — that the present and future of 
our Indo-European languages are to a great extent confound- 
ed, that is, represented without distinction of form, in Semi- 
tic expression. And I do it with the purpose of adding that 
the same confusion, the same want of formal distinction be- 
tween present and future, is to be found also within the do- 
main of Indo-European speech ; and that, too, at a point very 


near home to every one of us. Tf we look at our own mother- 
tongue, or, more properly, the mother of our mother-tongue, 
the Anglo-Saxon, we shall find a corresponding deficiency. As 
in Hebrew, so in Anglo-Saxon, the same form of the verb is 
regularly and ordinarily employed both as a present and as a fu- 
ture. The words which appear in the Anglo-Saxon New Testa- 
ment as aversion of John xvi. 2, might be rendered into mod- 
ern English, either " They will put you out of the synagogues, 
and the time will come, that whosoever shall slay you, will 
think that he doeth God service," or, if we look only at the 
forms of expression, without reference to the actual circum- 
stances of the case, " They put you out of the synagogues, 
and the time cometh, that whosoever slayeth you, thinketh 
that he doeth God service." Nor is the Moeso-Gothic, the 
most ancient and most perfect representative of the Germanic 
class of languages, better ofif in this particular than the 
Anglo-Saxon. If we turn to the translation of the Bible 
made by Bishop Ulfilas in the fourth century for his Moeso- 
Gothic countrymen, we shall find that the inflected forms of 
the verb which are used for the present, and which are shown 
by a comparison of other Indo-European languages to belong 
properly to that tense, are also in constant use for the expres- 
sion of the future. The same thing is true likewise of the old 
Norse ; and it appears, indeed, that this want of a special 
form for the future in distinction from the present belongs to 
the Germanic languages generally, in all the earliest forms 
with which we are acquainted. Perhaps it was even charac- 
teristic of primitive Germanism. By this I do not mean that 
the common Indo-European stock had not developed a dis- 
tinct form for the future at the time when the progenitors of 
the Germanic people began to have a separate subsistence 
and dwelling-place. I mean, rather, that a distinct form for 
this tense — supposing it to have been, as I believe it was, al- 
ready in existence — may perhaps have been lost by the primi- 
tive Germans at a very remote period, and thus the confusion 
of present and future may have been among the earliest of 
those deviations from the common type which at length im- 
pressed a peculiar character on the Germanic idioms. The 
modern languages of this class have endeavored to supply the 


want of a future by the use of auxiliaries : of these attempts 
we shall speak further on. We observe now, that a similar 
deficiency exists in one of the Celtic languages, the Welsh ; 
and not only so in the older forms of that language, as the 
laws of Hywel Dda (Howel the Good), which belong to the 
ninth century, but also in the current idiom of the present 
day. In one verb only do we find a distinction made between 
the present and the future — in the verb ' to be.' Sum, es, 
est, etc., are expressed by wyv, zvyt, yw, or ydzuyv, ydivyt, 
ydyiv : but ero, eris, erit are expressed by byddaf, byddit, 
bydd, etc. The root bydd, employed for the future, is only 
a modified form oibii, which is also found in Welsh, and, like 
our English be, is identical in origin with Sanskrit bhu, Greek 
^y-o), and Latin fic-i. The added aspirate of bydd is perhaps 
to be compared with the Greek 6 in forms such a§ 7re\dd-(o= 
•jreXd-o), 'to draw near,' /xii/i;^-&>=Lat. minu-o, 'to diminish,* 
and many others. This formative is now generally identi- 
fied with the root dha, Gr. Qe in ridrj^t^ Eng. do. Germ, thiin. 
If the dental in bydd is to be explained in this way, we should 
have for the primary meaning of byddaf ' I do be,' ' I do or 
lake the being,' a present form of expression, which, how- 
ever, as it implies that the being is not already done, that the 
ixistence of something is not already brought to pass, may 
naturally enough be employed as a future. The Welsh forms 
of the verb ' to be ' are much used in periphrastic expressions 
for continued action, which are even more prominent in 
Welsh than in English ; and in these, of course, it is able to 
discriminate the future from the present : ' he will be loving ' 
is expressed by bydd yn cam, ' he is loving ' \>y yxu yti cam: 
though ' he loves ' and ' he will love ' are both expressed by one 
and the same form, car. We cannot, however, suppose in this 
case — what we saw to be at least not improbable for the Ger- 
manic idioms — that the want of a special future form was an 
original and distinctive feature in the class of languages, the 
Celtic, of which the Welsh is a member. For in the Irish, the 
Gaelic of Ireland, which in many respects has preserved the 
primitive characteristics of Celtic speech better than the Welsh, 
we find a regular formation for the future, one which goes back 
evidently to the earliest periods of the language, and bears a 


remarkable analogy to the Latin future in bo. Thus from the 
root ;/?<?/ (infinitive violain, 'to praise') come the present, mo- 
laiin, iHolais, molaidh, ' laiido, laiidas, laudat ;' and the future, 
molfad (with /), molfair, molfaidh, ' laudabo, laudabis, lau- 
dabit : ' while the Welsh has molaf, molit, mawl, for both 
tenses. And yet the Welsh has a single remnant which 
shows that it anciently participated in the Irish formation of 
the future. Forms like mo liff {with, final /) are occasionally 
met with, in the third person singular only, and always in a 
future sense. 

But while the Germanic idioms, as a class, with one branch 
of the Celtic, resemble the Semitic tongues in confounding 
future and present, the great body of the Indo-European 
languages have distinct forms for the expression of the fu- 
ture. In examining these forms, which present considera- 
ble variety, we notice first the fact that some of them have 
been derived from a subjunctive or potential. The future is 
uncertain ; it is dependent on conditions, either now exist- 
ing or to arise hereafter. We need not be surprised, there- 
fore, to see .it expressed under the form of contingency — ex- 
pressed as that which ' may or might be.' A rudiment of 
this practice is seen in the Greek language, where the sub- 
junctive, especially the aorist subjunctive, with or without the 
contingent particle av or Kev, is sometimes found in cases 
where we should expect a future indicative. Thus in the fir^t 
book of the Iliad, Nestor, speaking of the heroes of an earlier 
time, says : ov ^ap ttoj toiov; tSov avepa<i ovSe th(0[iaL, * for never 
yet saw I such men, nor (may I see, am I likely to see, i.e.) 
shall I see hereafter.' This usage, however, is nearly con- 
fined to the Epic poetry. But that which we see in Greek 
occurring in this occasional and irregular way is matter of 
regular formation in Latin. It is a fact now generally recog- 
nized, that the future indicative of the third and fourth con- 
jugations, and, of course, the future indicative of nearly all 
primitive verbs, was originally a subjunctive — that it corres- 
ponds to the potential in Sanskrit and the optative in Greek. 
The characteristic of this mode in Sanskrit is jj/^ or i: in Greek 
it is L7) or i {SoiTjv, holfiev). In Latin it was the same as in Greek, 
ie or i. These two forms are seen in the Old Latin siem, and 


its later equivalent sim. The vowel i, used as mode-sign of 
the subjunctive, is seen also in velivi, iioliin, ynalim, diiini 
=zdcin, and perhaps one or two other old forms. It is implied 
likewise in the present subjunctive of the first conjugation, 
as amemiis, laudcmus, if these forms are really, what they are 
generally regarded as being, contracts made from amaimiiSy 
laudaiimis. This is the contraction which has occurred in 
the future indicative of the third and fourth conjugations, and 
has made Icgcmiis, luemus, out of legaivuis and luaimiis — 
forms which correspond perfectly to the Greek optatives 
\e^oi,^iev^ \voifiev (or more closely to the Doric forms, \eyoi/M€<i, 
Xyoi/ze?). It is probable, too, that in the future of the verb 
sum, in eris, erit, eriiniis, the i is in fact this same sign of the 
contingent mode, attached to the syllable er, originally es, the 
stem of the verb. Now it is a curious fact that the Armenian 
language, which belongs to the Iranian branch of the Indo- 
European family, and is therefore quite remote from the Latin, 
forms its future tense in a manner closely analogous to that 
just described. The Armenian future has for its characteristic 
a letter which is pronounced as ts : thus, from the stem da, * to 
give,' comes dats, ' I shall give,' datses, ' thou wilt give,' 
datse, ' he will give,' etc. At first view, we should think of 
this Armenian ts as connected with the Greek <r of the fu- 
ture, and should compare ^/la"/.?, datses, datse with S«o-a>, B(t)(jei<;y 
Bcoaei. But Bopp, in the second edition of his Comparative 
Grammar, has shown that the ts which plays an important 
part in the Armenian system of inflection has arisen every- 
where from an original Indo-European _y consonant, by a 
phonetic change, an assibilation, analogous to that Avhich ap- 
pears in English joke from Latin jocus, English June from 
Latin Junius. Thus dats, datses, datse correspond, not to 
hijuaw, Sajo-ei?, Sctxret, but to Soir/v, 80/779, Boiij, Sanskrit 
deyasani, deyds, deydt : that is, they are potential or optative 
forms, employed for the expression of the future. 

We have just alluded to the common Greek future in o", as 
seen in Scoo-o), Swo-et?, Baxrei. Identical with this is the ordinary 
future of the Sanskrit : thus, from the stem dd, ' to give,' we 
have in the future ddsydmi, ddsyasi, ddsyati. In these forms, 
comparative philology has long recognized the character of 


compound words, made by attaching to the stem da a future 
of the verb ' to be.' It is true that, in Sanskrit, the root as of 
the substantive verb (Greek and Latin e9, Germanic is) has no 
future existing as a separate form. It has a potential syiini, 
sycis, syat, iox asyairi, etc., made by annexing the potential 
characteristic jj/« to the radical as, which then loses its initial 
a, as in the corresponding Old Latin siem. Now in the ordi- 
nary Sanskrit future, we find the stem of the verb, whatever 
it may be, followed by the forms sydini, syasi, syati, which 
very closely resemble the potential forms just given, differing 
from them scarcely at all, except in having the full personal 
endings mi, si, ti, instead of the shortened in, s, t. It is 
therefore natural to suppose that this sydmi, etc. , was in its 
origin identical with sydin • that it once existed as a separate 
word, having at the outset a potential meaning ('may be, 
might be '), but afterwards employed as a future (' shall be, 
will be '), by a transition the same as that just pointed out in 
Latin futures of the third conjugation ; and that in this use it 
was compounded with other verb-stems to give them a future 
meaning, and was thus retained in composition long after it 
had ceased to exist in a separate state. The compound future 
made in this way is seen not only in the Zend and the Greek, 
but also in the Lithuanian, where we find, for example, diisii, 
* I shall give,' dusi, ' thou wilt give,' d//s, 'he will give.' It 
will be observed that the proper future element in this forma- 
tion is not the letter s, but the potential ya which follows it, 
and is very distinctly preserved in the Sanskrit sydini, etc., 
while in the common Greek aco, aei^, aet it is nearly obliterated. 
But in the Doric Greek, the endings of the future are criay 
or o-e&), (Teet<i, aeei, which correspond well, according to the 
.phonetic relations of the two languages, to the Sanskrit end- 
ings. The Greek, on the other hand, has this superiority, 
that it has retained the future of the stem as or e9 in a sepa- 
rate form eaofiai, Epic iaaovfj-ai, from eaaeofiat, or eaaio/jiai, 
though with middle endings, instead of active. The Sanskrit 
sometimes appends its future terminations directly to the 
stem, but more generally inserts a short i as a connecting 
vowel. In Greek this relation is reversed : occasionally we 
find the connective, as in jxa^^^eao/xai,, from /id'^^^ofxaL, ' to fight,' 



but in general the ending is applied immediately to the stem. 
In one case, however, the Greek almost invariably employs 
a connecting e — in the cale of liquid verbs ; though here the 
<T, standing between two vowels, has fallen away, as it does 
so often in the Greek language. Thus from fieva, ' to re- 
main,' we have future fievea-co instead of p-eva-co — from which 
comes fjLevid), contracted /xei/&>, the usual form. 

If now we return to the Latin, we shall find that the forma- 
tion just described, by which the future of the root as or es 
appears as the final element in a compound verb-form, is by 
no means unknown to that language. It does not appear, 
indeed, in the first future ; but in the future perfect it is the 
established method of formation. Legero, dixero, docuero, are 

mothing but the future of sum annexed to the stem of the per- 
fect active : they mean ' I shall be in the state of having read, 
having said, having taught.' Thus legero in the active corres- 
ponds closely to lectiis ero in the passive, the difference being 

rthat legero is a true and proper compound, while in lectiis ero 
le elements retain their separate form and construction. 
We have not yet spoken of the Latin future in bo, which 

[appears regularly in the first and second conjugations, and 

'sometimes in the fourth — amabo, docebo, aiidibo. This end- 
ing, too, hke the one which we have been considering, con- 
tains the verb ' to be.' It is not, however, deriv^ed like that 
from the root as, but from another root no less widely diffused 
through the Indo-European languages — Sanskrit bhu, Greek 
^v {6vQ}), Latin /u (fin, fore), Germanic and Celtic bz, be. 
It is true that the future ending bo shows the medial b, while 
the separate ftii,fore, etc. in Latin have the aspirate /".- but 
this circumstance involves no real difficulty. The primitive 
sound was a medial aspirate, bh, as we find it in the Sanskrit. 
In Latin, this bh either gives up its h and is reduced to the 
medial b, or it fuses b and h in the homogeneous aspirate /".• 
in general,/" is used for bh when it stands at the beginning of 
a word, and b when it stands in the middle. Thus the root 
bhar, ' to bear,' ^w&^fero as a separajte verb, but appears also 
in the ending -brum of candelabrum, ' candle-bearer,' cere- 
brum, 'brain,' lit. 'borne in the head' — a case which is 
entirely parallel to the one in hand. It is matter of doubt 


"whether ho, bis, ^zV ought to be regarded as present forms of 
the root bhiL used in the sense of futures, hke what we have 
seen before in the Welsh inolaf, Ac, or whether they are 
futures in form as well as in meaning — that is, whether they 
are not, like the Sanskrit sydmi, etc., potential forms applied 
to designate futurity. In the latter case, bo, bis, bit might be 
looked upon as contractions of bio, biis, biit, and this appears 
to be the most probable explanation. 

Closely analogous to this Latin future in bo, and resting 
upon the same root, is the regular future formation of the 
Irish, which we have had occasion to notice already. Here we 
find the endings fad, fair, faidh, fainaoid, faidh, faid j in 
which the derivation from the root bhu may be regarded as 
unquestionable. The endings in the ancient Irish, as given by 
Zeuss (Gramm. Celt.), are still more evidently connected with 
the Latin forms ; thus nb (from bii), Lat. bo ; fe (fromy?), Lat. 
bis ^ bid, fid,l^dX. bit j beni, fain, fein, L^X. biinus ,' bid, fid, 
Lat. bitis ; fet (for />;//), Lat. bunt. That this formation was 
not peculiar to the Irish, but belonged originally to all the 
Celtic idioms, is proved by the fact likewise noticed before, 
that a remnant of the same formation in the third person 
singular is still found occurring occasionally in the Welsh. 

These Latin and Celtic, futures have been further illustrated 
by Bopp from the Slavonic languages. In these the ordinary 
future is made by combining a participle of the verb with the 
future of the root bu, 'to be.' Here, however, the two ele- 
ments remain distinct, and do not coalesce into a single com- 
pound word, as in the Irish and Latin. Thus in the Car- 
niolan we find bom igral, igrala, igralo, ' I will be playing, 
he, she, or it that plays.' The future of the root 'to be,' 
which occurs in these combinations, has a singular resem- 
blance to the Welsh future bydd, which we have considered 
already. In the Old Slavonic it is budu, which contains, if 
Bopp is right, the radical of German thiin and English do, so 
that it would signify ' I do be,' * I do or make the being.' 
The Servian language stands distinguished from all its sister 
idioms of the Slavonic class by the fact that it does not 
confine this method to the substantive verb, but employs 
it as a general mode for the formation of a future : thus, 


in the Servian, igra-dyu ('I make a playing') means 'I will 

The compound forms which we have thus far described 
contain a future made from some root signifying 'to be,' 
which future is combined in one way or another with the dif- 
ferent verbs of the language. We might represent them all 
loosely by such English expressions as * he will be praising, 
he will be giving,' etc. But there is another method of pro- 
ceeding, in which the present of the substantive verb is used, 
and which may be represented therefore by the English ' I 
am about to praise, I am about to give,' etc. Such are the 
Latin daturus stun, Imcdaturtis sum. And such is a form of 
the future which appears in Sanskrit, though much less fre- 
quently than the one already analyzed. Thus the stem da, 
' to give,' makes two futures : one dasyami, ddsyasi, ddsyati, 
etc., corresponding, as we have seen, to the Greek Boxro), 
Sa>a€c<i, Bcoaei ; the other datdsmi, ddtdsi, data, which an- 
swers to the Latin daturus sum, es, est. What is remarkable 
in these Sanskrit forms is that ddtd, except in this formation, 
has nothing future in its meaning ; it is a common nomen 
agentis, and corresponds both in form and sense to the Latin 
dator, 'giver.' Indeed, it can scarcely be doubted that the 
Latin daturus is in its origin only another form of dator, and 
that the idea of futurity was attached to it by a sort of con- 
vention, as to the Sanskrit ddtd. In the third person, singu- 
lar, dual, and plural, of this Sanskrit future, the verb sub- 
stantive is omitted, and we have only the singular, dual, and 
plural of this nomen agentis, so that in the dual, for instance, 
we have only the expression ' two givers ' to signify ' they 
two will give.' It is also curious to observe that, although 
ddtd varies thus in the third person of the different numbers, 
where it stands by itself, yet in the first and second persons, 
where it is followed by the auxiliary, the form ddtd, which 
is the nominative singular, is used also for the other num- 
bers. It is as though in Latin we should say, not daturi 
sutnus, but daturus sumus. This shows that the Sanskrit ex- 
pression is not to be regarded, like the Latin, as a mere col- 
location o'f the substantive verb and the future participle; 
but that there is a real fusion, a quasi-compositi»n in the case. 


Thus far it is the verb ' to be' which has figured in all the 
futures, whether made by composition or by the use of sepa- 
rate auxiliaries, that have come under our notice. But other 
verbs may be laid hold of by the language-making spirit, and 
compelled to perform a similar service. Among these is the 
verb 'to have.' The old Slavonic translation of the Evange- 
lists frequently uses the present of imam, ' to have,' in con- 
nection with an infinitive, to form a future tense : thus, pyiiti 
imaty syn = ' ventet films' (lit. 'the son has to come'). The 
idiom of our own language makes it easy for us to feel the 
force of this periphrasis, which, as we use it, always looks for- 
ward to the future, though combining with the proper idea of 
tense the modal notion of obligation or necessity^ A similar 
periphrasis is occasionally found even in the Moeso-Gothic 
of Ulfilas, But it is in the . Romance languages that this 
mode of " futurizing" (if we may so call it) has shown itself on 
the largest scale and with the greatest constancy. The 
Italian, French, and Spanish future is nothing but a combi- 
nation of the infinitive with the present forms of the verb 
habere, ' to have.' Thus louerai, loiieras, louera, io7ieront, are 
nothing but loner {■=-laiidare) -f- ai, as, a, ont, the present 
forms of the verb avoir. The origin of these forms, if any 
doubt could be entertained in regard to it, is clearly demon- 
strated by the usage of the Proven9al, in which there is often a 
tmesis, or separation of the two elements, as in dar vos n'ai 
{'Je voiis en donfterai'), dir vos ai (' dicer e vobis habeo,' * I have 
to say to you,' ^j'e votes dirai'). The universality of this for- 
mation in the Romanic languages is a fine illustration of the 
reality and power of a spracJigeist, a mental attitude and 
tendency common to all the speakers of a language, however 
remote in place and disconnected in social relations, which 
leads them to develop simultaneously and independently 
similar modifications and new creations in their language. 
No idea can be entertained, in this case, of a fashion spring- 
ing up in a particular locality, and propagated thence by in- 
tercourse and imitation. The Spanish future could not have 
been borrowed from the Italian, nor the Italian from the 
Spanish. The phenomenon is a natural, not an artificial one. 
The Italian, French, and Spanish have alike grown out of a 


mixture of Germanism with a degenerate Latinism, and it 
lies in the nature of the ingredients that, when thrown to- 
gether, they should precipitate among other things a future 
such as this. 

It is a little singular, however, that the Germanic languages 
themselves, in their separate and independent development, 
have not shown the same uniformity as to the creation of the 
future tense which we have just seen in their influence upon 
the corrupt Latin, which they altered and adopted in the 
south of Europe. And yet, even here, the uniformity is too 
great to be the result of accident. In seeking to supply that 
ancient deficiency of special future forms which we have be- 
fore described, not one of these languages has adopted a com- 
pound inflexional form, like the Greek and Sanskrit future ; 
not one has combined the verb ' to be * with a participle or a 
periphrastic form, like the future in nearly all the Slavonic 
languages ; not one has connoted the verb ' to have ' with the 
infinitive, like the future of the Romance languages. The 
Germanic languages have taken up the verbs of volition and 
necessity, and made their futures by the help of these auxili- 
aries. In low Dutch, it is the verb of necessity alone, the 
shall, which is thus used to form the future. In Danish and 
Swedish, both v'erbs are thus employed. And this is the case 
in our classical English, which uses them not indiscriminately, 
but according to a somewhat subtle and refined distinction. 
In the English of Scotland and Ireland, and a large part of 
the United States, it is the verb of volition alone, the luill, 
that discharges this office, the shall being never used except 
with its primitive and proper notion of necessity. It is a 
curious fact that the modern Greek has adopted a similar for- 
mation of the future, ^e\et va ypdifyr] or SiXei va 'ypd^, 
corresponding exactly to the he will write of our own 

There is, however, one of the Germanic idioms which has 
departed from the general analogy, and adopted a wholly differ- 
ent auxiliary. I refer to the modern German, and its use of 
the verb ti'erden, ' to become,' to express the future. What 
makes this peculiarity the more striking is the fact that the 
Althochdeutsch, though standing to a great extent in the posi- 


tion of the McESo-Gothic and the Anglo-Saxon, and using its 
present as a future, had begun to introduce the verbs of will- 
ing and shalling to their auxiliary function, like the other 
languages of the same class. So that the Hochdeutsch lan- 
guage has actually thrown aside the general expedients of 
its class, after it had, in part at least, adopted them. Bopp 
congratulates his countrymen on this difference, as having 
made a more felicitous choice than the rest of their family. 
Wcrde7i is certainly not ill-adapted to the expression of the 
future ; though its use as an auxiliary interferes somewhat 
injuriously with its use as a separate verb. Yet the reason 
chiefly urged by Bopp is a damaging one for his own argu- 
ment. " That which is now becoming," he says, " certainly 
will be in the future." But, in the first place, this is not 
true ; for the present evolution may be arrested. And next, 
if it were true, the same thing might be said, with even 
greater force, of the shall, the verb of necessity. 

It remains only to add a word in reference to the historical 
question, whether any of these formations can be referred to 
the primitive period of Indo-European unity — whether in the 
common language, which afterwards, under different condi- 
tions of place, time, and circumstances, became Sanskrit, 
Greek, German, and the rest, any of these forms were already 
in use for the expression of the future — or whether we are to 
pronounce them all, as we must certainly pronounce many of 
them, to be of later growth, developed in particular sections 
of the Indo-European family, after these had separated them- 
selves from the common stock. In regard to one of them, 
the future in s,, there can be little doubt of its primitive an- 
tiquity. It occurs, as we have seen, with evident identity of 
form and meaning, in Sanskrit, Greek, and Lithuanian. For 
such an agreement in languages so remote from one another, 
there can be but one satisfactory explanation. It is impossi- 
ble to regard it as the result of an accidental coincidence. 
We are compelled to believe that the common formation was 
derived by all the three from a common source ; and that can 
only be the one common language of which they are all 
descendants. This conclusion, if it needed any confirrnation, 
might receive it from an interesting fact, which seems to 


prove that the same mode of formation once existed also in 
the Celtic. The Irish language presents us with an isolated 
bhus, meaning ' it will be,' in which it appears safe to recog- 
nize with Bopp a future in s made from the root bn — a form 
strictly identical with Lithuanian bus, Greek ipuaei, Zend 
busyeiti, Sanskrit bhavishyati, and we may add Indo-European 
bhusyati. But this conclusion as to the future in s seems to 
draw after it, if not with necessity, yet with a good degree of 
probability, a similar conclusion as to that formation of the 
future which appears in the Latin third conjugation, and is to 
be traced in the inflection of the Armenian verb. We have 
seen that Sanskrit ddsydmi (Greek Sctxro)) compounds the 
stem da with sydmi or asydtni, an old future of the root as ; 
and that this last was made by adding to that root the poten- 
tial ya, and was in fact a potential formation applied to desig- 
nate the future. If, then, the primitive Indo-European lan- 
guage made a future from the root as by applying to it the 
potential ya, it is very likely to have formed other futures 
from other roots by a similar process. It may have had these 
two formations of the future existing side by side, and used 
perhaps even in the same verbs. Thus the root dik, ' to 
show,' may have had the future dikaydmi, dikayasi, dikayati, 
corresponding nearly to Latin dicam, dices, dicet, and, at the 
same time, the future daiksydini, daiksyasi, daiksyati, corre- 
sponding to the Greek Se/fw, Sei'fet?, Sei^ei. 

The only remaining formation which could be regarded as 
having any plausible claim to a like primitive antiquity is the 
Latin future in bo. Outside of the Latin, we find it only in 
the Celtic languages ; and our opinion as to the period of its 
development must depend a good deal on the relation which 
we conceive to exist bfetween the primitive Celtic and the 
Latin. If these are as widely separated as the Greek and 
Lithuanian, the fact that a form belonged alike to both of 
them would go far to prove it an element of the common 
Indo-European language. This would be a natural conclu- 
sion for those who hold, with Ebel and Lottner, that the 
Celtic languages are connected by special affinities with those 
of northern Europe, the Germanic and the Letto-Slavic : un- 
less, indeed, they should hold, as Lottner also does, that the 



Latin and the other Italic languages are in the same condi- 
tion, and stand nearer to Celtic, Germanic, and Letto-Slavic 
than to the Greek. But there is a different view, set forth 
recently by Schleicher {Beitrdge zur vergleic'ieitden Sprach- 
forschung, vol. i.), which I am strongly inclined to believe 
will be sustained by further study — that the Celtic has a 
special connection with the Graeco-Latin languages, but more 
particularly with the Latin and its sister languages of Italy. 
And this formation of the future, which belongs both to the Italic 
and the Celtic, and to these only, supplies him with one of 
the main pillars for his theory. Another, similar to this, but 
even stronger, he finds in the passive formed with r, which 
belongs exclusively to these same languages. According to 
this view, it would be natural to regard the future in bo as 
having arisen on Italo-Celtic ground, rather than as imported 
from the common home of the Indo-European family. 




I PROPOSE to occupy your time this evening for per- 
haps an hour with some observations on the formation of 
the passive voice in different languages. The object will be 
to show the nature and variety of the methods which have 
been adopted by the makers of human language — and it 
must be remembered that all users of language are makers 
of language — to express the idea of the passive. 

If knowledge is to follow the lead of charity, as St. Paul 
would recommend, then knowledge must begin at home. 
Before entering the Babel of outlandish languages, we will 
linger awhile with our own kindly and intelligible Eng- 
lish. Yet we must confess that this good old mother- tongue, 
with all its resources and faculties, has, strictly speaking, no 
passive verb : I do not say " no passive," but "no passive 
verb." For such words as broken, struck, loved, praised, etc. 
are not verbs : they are nouns, adjective nouns, attributive 
words, appropriate to the object of an action, appropriate 
to that which somebody breaks, strikes, loves, praises. 
In themselves they are not predicate-words : they become 
so only when they are connected with a verb. We 
connect them with the verb to be, as he is praised, he was 
loved ^ and thus, if we do not strictly form a passive verb, 
we at least supply the place of one ; we express under a 
predicate-form the conception or relation of the passive. In 
this respect we stand on the same footing as the Anglo- 
Saxon. Our ancestors a thousand years ago were, like our- 
selves, without a passive verb, and they supplied the defi- 
ciency in the same way that we do. In one respect, how- 
ever, there is a difference. We have but one verb — the 
verb to be, in its various parts — which we employ regularly 
for this purpose. The Anglo-Saxon uses the same verb 


very frequently — ge gehyrdon, thcet gecweden wees, ' ye have 
heard that it was said (was quothed, or quoted),' etc. But fre- 
quently it uses another verb, one which has all but disap- 
peared from the present language. Every one will remem- 
ber the complaint of Fitz-James in Scott's Lady of the Lake : 
" Woe worth the chase, woe worth the day, That cost thy 
life, my gallant grey " — that is to say ' Woe is the chase,' or 
rather, ' woe befalls it, woe betides it.' This zvorth is a 
remnant of the old Anglo-Saxon weorthan, ' to become,' 
which was often used, like deo/i, ' to be,' for expressing the 
passive. Thus " when his father saw him (the Prodigal Son), 
he was stirred" with mild-heartedness — /le wearth mid 
mildhcortnisse astyrod ;'' strictly, ' he became, he came to be 
excited with compassion.' Now these two verbs, to be and 
to worth (if I may give it so), were similarly used in the older 
forms of the High German, the Low German, and the Dutch, 
the idioms most closely related to the Anglo-Saxon. But 
in the modern forms of all these languages, the verb to be has 
lost this use, and only the verb to worth is employed for ex- 
pressing the passive. 

Thus, for ' he is loved,' the German says, not er ist geliebt, 
but er wird geliebt. If we find in German such an expres- 
sion as er ist geliebt, the participle has sunk into a mere adjec- 
tive, as though one should say "he is dear," "he is accepta- 
ble." These forms are evidently quite different from the real 
passive, in which we have the idea of an action proceeding 
from an agent to an object : as, * he is loved by his friends,' 
where the German can only say er zvird geliebt von seinen 
Freiinde?i. It is certainly a curious circumstance that out of 
the two auxiliaries which were originally employed both by our 
own language and by its nearest kindred, the English should 
have adopted the one which all the rest have discarded — at 
least, in this use of it. But it is a fact which admits of a 
plausible explanation. The English language has not been 
left to an independent and spontaneous development. 
Brought by the Norman conquest into contact with the 
French, it shows many traces of the exotic influence. It is 
not strange if, in a choice between two forms of expression al- 
ready existing, the result should be determined by the an- 


alogy of the intruding language. If the French had used 
dci'enir^ ' to become,' or some word of similar meaning, in 
the expression of the passive — if in the present passive of 
louer, ' to praise,' they had said // devient loue instead of /'/ 
est lone — it is probable that we ourselves should now be 
saying he worth praised (German, er wird gelobt) instead of 
he is praised. But the French language, like its sisters of 
Italy and Spain, makes the passive by using the verb * to be.' 
And for this also there is an obvious historical reason. The 
Latin, from which they are all derived, which stands to them 
in much the same relation as Anglo-Saxon to English, forms 
a large part of its passive in the same way. The method 
which the Latin adopted in its complete tenses — Perf. amatits 
sum or fuij Plup. amatus eram ox fueravi, etc., etc. — this 
method is extended in the Romance languages to all the 
tenses, the incomplete as well as the complete. In this pro- 
cess the Latin participle in ttis has lost the idea of time which 
generally belonged to it in Latin ; it has changed from a per- 
fect participle passive to a passive participle pure and simple. 
The Latin laudatus est means (commonly, at least) ' he is the 
object of a past act of praising,' i.e. ' he has been praised ; ' 
whereas the French // est lone means ' he is the object of an 
act of praising,' /. e. ' he is praised.' 

If now we pass on to the Latin passive of the incomplete 
tenses, we come for the first time to a true passive verb, an in- 
flexional form which is in itself a full predicate, and which 
is made to take for its subject the real object of the action. 
Its characteristic element is the r at or near the end of the 
form, which appears in* all modes and tenses : as amor, amabar, 
amabor, amer, amarer, amari, etc. ; and in all numbers and 
persons : as amor, amaris or -re, amatur, amamur, amantur. 
This statement, however, suggests a vQry notable exception. 
The second person plural amamini {amabamini, amemini) is 
in glaring contrast with the analogy of the other forms. It is in 
fact a very different thing, being simply a participle, the no- 
minative plural masculine of a lost participle. It is identical 
with the Greek participles in yuevo^i which are so abundant in the 
middle and passive voices : as, from \y-&), ' to loose,' \t>o/iei/o9, 
XeXv/ievo?, \vadyLevo<i.^ \v6T}a6fi€vo<i, etc. , etc. The Latin has 


Other traces of this participle, as for instance m femina, which 
appears to be the particip>le of a root fe, meaning ' to milk, 
suckle.' The familiar word alumnus is equivalent to alujninus , 
a participle of the verb alo, meaning ' one who is nourished or 
reared up. ' Apparently the Romans must once have used ajna- 
inuiiestis for ' ye are loved ; ' but when the participle ceased to 
be employed in other uses, the true character of «;««w/;2/ was 
forgotten, it dropped the verb estis, which would then appear 
unnecessary ; and, though masculine in form, was applied to 
a feminine subject not less readily (perhaps, if the sense of 
the word is considered, more readily) than to a masculine. 

The passive in r is one of the most remarkable features of 
the Latin language. It is not, however, confined to the Latin. 
It is found in the scanty remains of the Oscan and Umbrian, 
and there can be no doubt that it was common to that whole 
class of languages — the Italian class, as it is called — the an- 
cient idioms of Middle Italy. Outside of this class, it is found 
in the Celtic languages, and in those only. The Welsh and 
Irish, down even to the present day, have a passive in r, and 
the forms of this passive, as they are found in the oldest 
written monuments of the Irish language, dating back about a 
thousand years, have a marvellous resemblance to" those of the 
Latin. In the Celtic, as in the Latin, the formation in r does 
not extend to the perfect tense. In the Celtic, as in the 
Latin, the formation in r is excluded from the second person 
plural. Both in the perfect tense, and in the second person 
plural, the Celtic, like the Latin, uses forms which appear to 
have been originally participles. These surprising coincidences 
in reference to the passive are the main'prop of the hypothesis 
recently propounded, according to which,the Celtic languages 
and the Italican stand in a special and close relation to each 
other — a closer relation than that which the Latin, for in- 
stance, bears to the Greek, or the Celtic to the German. 

The question comes, now — what is the nature of this passive 
in r ; what are its origin and its meaning? Before attempting 
an answer to this question, let us notice some facts which are 
not without their bearing on that answer. 

The Italian language sometimes -uses an active verb with 
the reflexive pronoun 'i'z, where we should employ the pas- 



sive. Thus the sentence ' by a good man virtue is not loved 
on account of utility' may be expressed in Italian, da tin 
uomo bnono noii si ama la virtu per l' utile — /. e,, ' virtue does 
not love itself (Lat. non se amat virtus). The Spanish has a 
similar idiom : the sentence ' many lies are told' may be ren- 
dered by se dicen mucJias incntiras (Lat. se dicuiit multa men- 
dacid) — /. e. ' many lies tell themselves,' or, ' get themselves 
told.' Were this the only instance of the kind, one might 
suppose that the Spanish people wished to relieve themselves 
from apprehended blame by representing their little devia- 
tions from truth as self-produced. But the idiom is familiar 
to these languages : it is, however, confined in them to the 
3d person singular and plural. But there is one daughter of 
the Latin, a forlorn and neglected child, which is said to 
use this as its regular form for expressing the passive in all 
persons and numbers. I refer to the language of the Wal- 
lachians in Hungary and Turkey, the descendants of the 
Romanized Dacians. For ' I am praised,' these people say 

jo me lander, i. e. ' I praise myself (Lat. eg-o me laudd) ; for 
'thou art praised,' tu te laitdi, 'thou praisest thyself;' for 
' he is praised,' el se laudd, ' he praises himself,' etc., etc. 

The same phenomenon presents itself again in a language 
which as regards place lies very near to the Wallachian, 
though belonging to a different branch of the Indo-European 
family — the Old Slavonic, as it is called, or the Old Bulgarian, 
the language of the Bulgarians a thousand years ago. The 
Old Slavonic passive is made by using with the active verb 
the word sen, which is plainly a reflexive pronoun, like the 
Latin se and the German sich. But while the Wallachian, as 
we said, uses different pronouns for the different persons — me 

^for the first, te for the second, and se only for the third — the 
Old Slavonic uses sen for all persons of both numbers.* Sen 

tthus used does not really signify ' myself, thyself, himself,' 
etc., though we have to translate it by those pronouns: it 
signifies merely ' self;' it expresses the reflexive. relation and 
nothing further. 

* Thus citun, • I honor,' citun sen, 'I am honored,' lit. 'I honor myself;' ci- 
\tesi, 'thou honorest,' citesi sen ('thou honorest thyself'), 'thou art honored;' 
\nUti, 'he honors,' citetisen ('he honors himself'),' ' he is honored.' 



If I am not mistaken, the reflexive passive here described 
is found in all the modern languages of the Slavonic class, 
the Russian, Polish, Bohemian, Servian, etc. 

Nearly akin to the Slavonic idioms is the Lithuanian, a 
language of scarcely any literary cultivation, but of much 
interest and importance to the philologist. The Slavonic sen 
is reduced in the Lithuanian to a mere s, which of course 
does not form a word by itself, but is attached as a final 
sound to the forms of the active verb.* 

Now these forms in s, vesus, vezes, vezas, and the rest, are 
not passive — the Lithuanian makes its passive by connecting 
the verb 'to be ' {esmi, ' I am ' ) with a passive participle. 
They have a reflexive sense, ' I bear myself, thou bearest thy- 
self,' etc. — they constitute a reflexive voice, like the middle 
voice of the Greek. But I have brought them in here for the 
sake of showing how the reflexive pronoun, reduced to a 
single letter, may attach itself as a grammatical ending to the 
inflected forms of an active verb. The bearing of this will be 
obvious as we proceed. 

The Scandinavian languages — the Old Icelandic or Old 
Norse, with its modern descendants, the Swedish and the 
Danish — form one section of that Teutonic family to which 
belong the German and the English. But as regards the sub- 
ject now before us, these Scandinavian languages are strik- 
ingly distinguished from the other members of that family. 
The Swedish and Danish have a passive in s, a passive made 
by adding s to the forms of the active. Thus, in Swedish, from 
trycka, ' to press,' or ' I press,' comes the passive tryckas, 
' to be pressed,' or ' I am pressed ; ' iroxn prisade , ' I praised,' 
the passive p7^isades , ' I was praised,' etc. Instead of this s, 
the Old Icelandic has sf. Thus skjota, * to shoot, throw,' 
passive skjotast, ' to be thrown, to fall ; ' Impf. skaut, ' he 
shot, threw,' passive skaiit-st, 'he was thrown.' But in the 
oldest manuscripts we find sk instead oi st : skjotask, 'to be 
thro,wn,' skaiitsk, ' he was thrown.' And it may be regarded 
as perfectly certain that this sk is only a shortened form of 

* Thus, from vezu, * I carry' (Lat. veho), with added s, comes the form vezu-s ; 
from vezi, 'thou carriest,' comes veze-s ; from veza, 'he carries,' vezas — and so 
on, through the dual and plural. 


the reflexive pronoun sik, the same as German sick. The 
formation here described is in the highest degree interesting, 
because the process goes on, so to speak, under our own eyes. 
We see the reflexive pronoun sik losing its separate character, 
and, under the shortened form sk, attaching itself to the 
active verb, which it converts into a passive : then, uncon- 
scious of its origin, passing for easier pronunciation into st ; 
and finally, going into the yet easier s, which only a philolo- 
gist would think of as ever having been a separate word. 

After this somewhat lengthy detour, which has taken us 
the round of Europe, we come back to our Latin passive in 
r. This is regarded now *by the students of comparative 
philology as a formation of precisely the same nature as the 
one just considered : it is believed to have .been formed by 
adding the reflexive se, or at least the s of it, to the forms of the 
active. Thus laitdor is supposed to be for laiidos, or laiido se, 
' I praise self (myself) ; ' latidaris for landasis, or laudas{i)se, 
' thou praisest self (thyself) ; ' laudator for laiidatus, or laiida- 
t{ii)se, 'he praises self (himself),' etc., etc. The change of .f 
to r is one of the most familiar phenomena of the Latin 
language. It occurs most frequently between vowels, as in 
gemis, generis, gejicri (for genesis, genesi) ; in cram, ' I was ' 
(for esam), from the root es, which appears in esse, es-to, es-tis j 
and a multitude of other cases. Yet it is by no means un- 
known at the end of a word : we have both arbos 
and arbor, ' tree,' both honos and honor, 'honor,' where the 
form in .y is unquestionably the older of the two. We can 
therefore easily believe that laudor should be the later form 
for an earlier laiidos, and the rest in the same way. It must 
be confessed, indeed, that the case is not quite so clear a one 
as this statement would seem to make it. For we have to 
consider not the Latin only, but the other Italican languages, 
the Oscan, Umbrian, etc., which have the passive in r ; and 
not these only, but the Celtic languages, the Welsh, Irish, 
etc., which have it likewise. Most of these other languages 
do not show the tendency so common in Latin to exchange s 
for r. Nor is there any reason to suppose that the parent 
language from which the various Italican or Celtic idioms de- 
rived their origin had any general tendency to exchange s for 


r. It is enough to point out this difficulty : I need not go 
into the considerations by which its force perhaps may be in 
some measure abated. It seems impossible to explain the 
Latin passive in any other way ; to explain it in this way, as 
a reflexive formation, is at once natural in itself and support- 
ed by strong analogies from various quarters. Philologists, 
therefore, notwithstanding the difficulty refeiyed to, have 
generally adopted this explanation. 

I will only add that this way of accounting for the passive 
throws a welcome light on the deponent verbs. Why, it may 
be asked, should verbs of purely active meaning— such as 
Conor, * to endeavor,' reniiniscor , ' to remember,' titor, ' to 
use,' orior, ' to rise,' />recor, ' to pray,' etc., etc. — why should 
they receive a passive ending ? The best answer would be 
to deny the facts : these verbs have not a purely active mean- 
ing, and they have not received a passive ending. They are 
verbs of reflexive meaning, and they have received, as it is 
most proper that they should, a reflexive ending. Thus 
Conor means ' to exert one's self,' reniiniscor , ' to remind one's 
self,' utor, ' to serve one's self (with something, whence it is 
followed by an instrumental ablative), orior, * to raise one's 
stM,' precor, ' to ask for one's self,' etc. 

From Latin to Greek is a natural transition. Here the 
fact which strikes us first is that the Greek passive is to a 
great extent borrowed from the middle or reflexive voice. If 
there are any here who were brought up under the old regime in 
Greek grammar and fed upon imaginary forms of TyTTTw, they 
will perhaps be surprised by this statement. For they have 
learned that TinrTO/jLat and ervirToixriv are true passive forms, 
which the middle, to supply its own deficiencies, is compelled 
to borrow. But they must know that all this is changed now- 
a-days. There has been a revolution, in which the passive 
(fulfilling its own name) has been a sufl*erer, and the long de- ■ 
frauded middle has come to its just rights. The passive now 
has but two tenses of its own, its aorist and its future : for all 
the rest, for present and imperfect, perfect and pluperfect 
and future-perfect — this last being the " paulo-post future " of 
the old grammars — for all these it must acknowledge its de- 
pendence upon the middle. In other words, it is now ac- 


knowledged that such forms as present Xovo/j-at, imperfect 
iXovofirjv, perfect \e\ovfiai, pluperfect iXeXovfirjv, are primarily 
reflexive forms, a^nd that their passive use is secondary : that 
in Xovofxac, for example, the first meaning was ' I wash my- 
self,' and the second ' I am washed,' precisely as the Latin 
/avor, according to the explanation just given, must have 
meant ' I wash myself,' before it meant ' I am washed.' Now 
the peculiarity of the Greek middle as compared with the 
active — its formal peculiarity- — lies in its personal endings ; it is 
the personal-endings which distinguish the middle voice as 
such. Thus, in the singular of the active, the original end- 
ings were fii, ai, rt: we see them in the verb 'to be' — ist 
person elfu (for ea-fit), ' I am,' 2d ia-at (Hom.), 'thou art,' 
3d ia-Ti, ' he is.' It is obvious that /it, ai, rt are pronouns, and 
express the subject of the verb : thus, ea-fii— ' is me ' or ' I 
am ; ' ^(t(tC=.' is thee ' or ' thou art ; ' itT-rC:=' is that ' or * that 
(one) is, he is.' For /it, at, ri, the middle has fiai, aai, rat, ; 
as in LCTTafiat, IcnacraL, icrrarai. Why, then, should an active 
form become middle by simply changing /it, at, rt to fiai, aai, 
rail On this point there are two views, each of which has 
its adherents. According to one view, /iat, aai, -rat are mere- 
ly lengthened or strengthened forms of ^ii, at, rt, and by their 
greater length indicate the greater importance which belongs 
to the grammatical subject in the reflexive verb. For, in the 
expression / wash myself^ the first person, the I, is a very 
important person, being at once subject and object of the ac- 
tion, its original and end. The importance of this person 
may be expressed, not unfitly, by strengthening the syllable 
which represents it. According to the other view, fiai, aai, 
rai are modified forms of fia-fii, aa-at, ra-ri, in each of which 
the person is expressed twice, first as object, then as subject. 
Thus Xovofuu, for \ovo-fia fic, would mean ' wash-me-I,' i.e. 
' I wash myself; ' 7>j)V€{a)ai, for \ov€-aa-a-i, ' uash-thee-thou,' 
i.e. ' thou washest thyself; ' \ove-Tai, for Xove-ra-Ti, ' wash- 
him-he,' i.e. ' he washes himself.' I shall not discuss these 
two views ; neither of them can be regarded as anything more 
than a hypothesis, until it is shown that some similar explana- 
tion can be given for the other personal endings. 

I remark, however, that a passive formed in the same way 


once existed in our own Teutonic family of languages. 
There is no trace of it, indeed, in the Anglo-Saxon, nor in 
the Old Icelandic, nor in the Old High German : but if we 
go back beyond all these to -the earliest monument of 
our family, to the Gothic Bible-translation made by Bishop 
Ulfilas in the 4th century, we find it there. The Gothic 
bairada, * he is borne,' corresponds exactly in every respect 
to the Greek ^kperai; the Gothic bairanda, ' they are borne,' 
corresponds in the same way to the Greek <f)ipovrac. It is appa- 
rent that in the time of Ulfilas the Gothic was already beginning 
to lose this formation. It is only found in the present, in- 
dicative and subjunctive : even here the first person singular 
is gone, its place being supplied by the third, while in the 
plural both the first and second persons have disappeared, 
and the third does duty for them. It is not surprising, there- 
fore, that succeeding monuments of the Teutonic languages, 
the earliest of which are some three centuries later, should 
show no trace of this formation. If the Bible of Ulfilas, which 
survives only in scanty fragments, had perished altogether, 
there would be no evidence that this middle-passive was 
for ages the common possession of Teutons and Grecians. 

I have said that, while the Greek passive borrows most of 
its tenses from the middle or reflexive voice, it has two — an 
aorist and future — which are peculiar to itself. But before 
looking at these we will glance at the ancient language of 
India. The Sanskrit passive, as compared with the Greek, 
shows remarkable coincidences along with remarkable differ- 
ences. In both languages the perfect passive is borrowed 
from the middle. But in the aorist and future, where the 
Greek has a distinct form for the passive, the Sanskrit does 
not generally distinguish it from the middle. And on the 
other hand, in the present and imperfect, where the Greek 
passive is always the same as the middle, the Sanskrit has a 
distinct formation for the passive. This is made by adding to 
the stem of the verb the syllable j^a, which always takes the 
accent. Thus, from tud, ' to strike,' a root which appears in 
the Latin verb tiindo, the Sanskrit makes tiid-yd-te, ' he is 
struck,' tud-ya-nte, ' they are struck.' Now the syllable j/d 
occurs in Sanskrit as the root of a separate verb, which means 


' to go : ' and it is believed that the formative ya of the pas- 
sive is no other than this root yd, 'to go.' If this be so, 
tudyate would mean ' he goes to a striking, he meets or in- 
curs a striking.' A curious parallel as regards the meaning 
is found in the familiar Latin veneo, 'to be sold,' infin. venire, 
undoubtedly for vetuun eo, venum ire, 'to go to sale,' and 
hence ' to be sold.' 

This Sanskrit passive reappears in the Armenian, where 
the syllable jrt is reduced to the simple vowel i. Probably 
also it reappears in the Greek, where the second aorist pas- 
sive is formed by adding to the stem an e or 17, which may 
easily be connected with the Sanskrit ya. Thus eifKrjyqv, 
from irXrja-aay, ' to beat,' would mean ' I went to a beating, I 
was beaten.' As regards the Greek first aorist passive, the 
aorist in 0r}v, that is still an enigma : solutions have been pro- 
posed for it, but none that can be accepted as satisfactory. 

We have now reviewed the modes of passive formation 
which appear in the Indo-European class of languages. And 
we have seen that one of the most common modes, perhaps 
the most common of all, is the use of some form which was 
originally and properly reflexive. For ' he is praised ' it has 
been, and still is, a very common thing to say /le /^raises /lim- 
self. If we inquire into the r^//^««/^ of this expression, we 
shall easily recognize in it the principle of qui facit per alium 
facit per se. One who makes others praise him praises him- 
self. I praise myself, if I proceed and act in such a way as 
to get praise from those around me. And this is tantamount 
tp saying that, if I am praised, I praise myself. What I wish 
to say is, that the reflexive which serves to express the pas- 
sive is a causal reflexive. The Latin lajidor, the Swedish 
prisas, the Greek hraivoviiai, all mean ' I make men praise 
me, I let men praise me, I get men to praise me,' or something 
of that kind. They are causal reflexives. In this view, it is a 
significant circumstance that the Sanskrit, which has both a 
causal and a passive, forms them both in very much the same 
way : it adds ya to form the passive, and aya to form the 
causal. But if we go outside the bounds of the Indo-European 
family, we shall find cases more striking and unequivocal of a 
connection between causal and passive. The Magyar, or Hun- 


garian, belongs, as all know, to that class- of languages which is 
variously called Tartaric or Altaic or Turanian ; the same class 
to which belong the Finnish and the Turkish and the Manchu. 
The Magyar forms both the causal and the passive by adding 
the same syllable tat or at {tet or et) to the root of the verb : 
thus, from the root Idt, meaning ' to see,' comes Idt-tat, which 
is used both Tor the causal and for the passive. How, then, 
are these two uses distinguished from each other ? By 
the endings. The Magyar tfas endings which are applied 
only to transitive verbs, such as to love, praise, strike, 
etc., and other endings which are applied only to intransi- 
tive verbs, such as to sleep, dream, walk, fall, etc., verbs 
in which the action is confined to the sphere of the agent or 
subject, affecting no other object. If then Idttat, which is 
made by adding the formative syllable tat to the root kit, ' to 
see,' is to be used as a causal, it takes the transitive endings : 
Idttat ok, ' I cause to see,' i. e. I cause a seeing of which (not I 
myself, but) something else is the object. But if Idttat is to be 
used as passive, it takes the intransitive endings : lattat om, 
' I am seen,' i. e. I cause a seeing which has no other object 
than me, I cause a seeing which affects myself only. In like 
manner the Finnish, the Esthonian, and other languages 
which stand nearest to the Magyar, show a close connection 
between causal and passive, though they do not exhibit the 
nature of that connection with the same beautiful distinctness. 
But there is a language spoken by Indians of South America, 
the Arauack language, which seems to be more transparent 
in this respect than even the Magyar. It forms a reflexive 
by adding nua to the root of the verb : thus, from assukiissun, 
'to wash,' comes asstikiissimtma, 'to wash one's self.' It 
forms a causal by adding kuttun to the stem : thus, from 
assukiissun, ' to wash,' comes assukussukuttun, * to cause to 
wash.' Now the passive is made by combining these two 
signs, kuttun for the causal and 7iua for the reflexive ; it adds 
kuttunnua to the stem of the verb : assukussu~kuttun-nua, ' to 
cause to wash one's self,' to cause a washing of which the 
object is one's self — i. e. to be washed. 

It sometimes happens that an intransitive verb is used to 
express the passive. Thus, instead of "he was killed in 


battle" we often say "he fell in battle." The Greek hardly 
ever uses the passive aorist of KTeCvoa, 'to kill,' but substitutes 
for it the aorist active of the intransitive dirodvija-Kai : diridave, 
' he died,' instead of i/crddr}, ' he was killed.' Most languages, 
doubtless, would show occasional instances of this kind ; but 
in some languages the idiom assumes a more definite and 
formal character. This is the case in GothicT, which, as we 
have seen, had begun to lose the old middle-passive that 
belonged to it in common with the Greek. It often uses in 
place of that a peculiar series of intransitives, made by adding 
na to the stem of the active verb. Thus, veihan, ' to conse- 
crate,' but veiluiaUy ' to be consecrated ; ' aftairan, ' to tear 
off,' but aftaunian, 'to be torn off;' fraliusan (Germ, ver- 
liereji)," to lose,' hwX. fralusnaji, 'to be lost, to be forlorn.' 
In the Semitic languages (Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, etc.), 
passives are made to a great extent by merely changing the 
vowels of the active verb : thus Arabic qataluy ' he killed,' 
but qiitila, 'he was killed.' Passives such as these are 
properly regarded as intransitives used to express the pas- 
sive. This view of their nature may perhaps account for the 
singular fact that, in the Arabic, passives like qiitila cannot be 
used when the agent or doer of the action is to be expressed. 
If I wish to say in Arabic ' the vizier was killed,' I can use 
the form qiitila : qiitila Tvasiru ^ but if I wish to say 'the" 
vizier was killed by the sultan,* I can no longer use qutila ; I 
must take some other form of expression. If ^'w///^ had the 
nature of a true and complete passive, it could hardly be sub- 
ject to a restriction like this. 

In English — and the same thing is more or less true of 
other languages — there are some verbs which may be used 
without any change of form both actively and passively. 
Thus, "the water filled the ship," and "the ship filled with 
water;" "the bad air sickened him," and "he sickened 
with the bad air;" "the woman washes the calico," and 
"the calico washes well," etc. In one auxiliary formation, 
this double use as active or passive belongs to the established 
idiom of our language. We say "he is building the house," 
and " the house is building ; " " while he was doing these 
things," and " while these things were doing." It is in order 


to avoid the ambiguity of this form that men have latterly 
begun to say " the house is being built," " these things were 
being done." These forms of the continued passive have 
had to undergo much severe criticism, and it can hardly be 
denied that they are somewhat illogical and perhaps yet more 
unwieldy. Still, they have their convenience : probably 
there is no man who, if the fear of the grammarians were 
taken from him, would not occasionally use them. Like 
other things which are homely and useful, they will be likely 
to maintain themselves against all opposition, at least in the 
language of conversation and extemporaneous speaking, 
and may possibly gain a place at last even in polite litera- 

There are languages, however, in which this indifferent use 
of the same form as active or passive is carried to a yet great- 
er extent. In the Tibetan language, all transitive verbs can 
be used as passives ; and indeed, this is by far the most fre- 
quent use of them. It is not strange that in monosyllabic 
languages, like the Chinese, which are of course destitute of 
all inflection, the same verb should be employed at pleasure 
as active or passive. The Chinese, however, does contrive to 
make a sort of passive, by prefixing to the verb a certain 
relative particle : thus, for ' it is seen ' the Chinese can say ' it 
is what see ; ' for ' it is heard,' he can say ' it is what hear,' 
and the like. 

It might be supposed that when we have come to a language 
which has no special form for the passive, but uses the same 
form as active or passive indifferently, we have reached the 
minimum point. But this is not the fact. There lies beyond 
it an absolute zero. There are languages which not only 
have no form of expression for the passive, but have not even 
the idea of the passive. Such is the language of the Osage 
Indians, in which the words " knock, and it shall be opened 
to you " have to be translated by, ' knock and they will open 
to you.' So, too, the language of the Dacotah Indians, in 
which the words "Jesus came to John and was baptized in 
Jordan," are rendered ' Jesus came to John^^and they baptized 
him in Jordan. ' In these idioms, the agent or doer of the action 
always appears in the nominative, and if the agent is unknown 


or unthought of, the indefinite third person plural takes the 
place of it : as 'they will open it,' instead of " it will be 
opened;" ' they baptized him,' instead of" he was baptized." 

On the other hand, there are languages which show a 
marked predilection for the passive. This is true of the Ti- 
betan, just mentioned, which with transitive verbs regularly 
employs the passive construction, except in certain limited 
and comparatively unfrequent cases. Sometimes languages 
which are nearly related to each other differ widely in this 
respect. Thus, in Western Africa, the Mpongwe has a de- 
cided preference for the passive, while the kindred Bakele as 
decidedly prefers the active, and the Benga employs both 
active and passive with equal readiness. 

We have noticed that there are passive formations which 
are never used where the agent or doer of the action is to be 
mentioned in the same connection. But as a general thing, 
the agent is or can be introduced in some dependent con- 
struction along with the passive. In such cases, the relation 
of the agent to the action is differently conceived and ex- 
pressed in different languages. In the largest number, per- 
haps, the agent is thought of as the source or starting-point 
from which the action proceeds. Thus in Latin, discipnlus 
laudatur a magistro, ' the pupil is praised by the master,' 
literally ' from the master.' So in the modern descendants of 
the Latin : Italian da/ maestro, French du maitre, etc. So in 
German, von dent Meister, and so in a multitude of other lan- 
guages. Some languages (as the Tibetan), which have an in- 
strumental case, use it for the agent with a passive verb. In 
like manner we, in English, use the instrumental preposition 
by ; though it must be observed that the instrumental use of 
this preposition is a secondary one. Primarily it denotes 
nearness or association : the instrument is that with which, in 
presence of which, in connection with which, something 
takes place. " The resolution was read by the chairman," 
simply represents the chairman as near to the reading, and 
closely connected with it. In Greek, the preposition inro, 
' under,' is placed before the agent : he is thought of, appa- 
rently, as standing over his work, supervising it and having it 
under his control. Not a few languages put the agent in the 


genitive — a pretty clear sign that the so-called passive is then 
in reality a verbal noun. 

A curious statement is made in regard to certain languages of 
the Philippine islands. They have three different forms of 
the passive verb, according as the subject of the passive is the 
object of the action, or the instrument of the action, or the 
place of the action. Thus a sentence like "the servant 
searched for the book with the light in the chamber," can in 
those languages be expressed passively in three different 
ways, with three different forms of the passive verb, accord- 
ing as we take the book, the light, or the chamber, for the 
subject-nominative. In all of them the agent (that is, the 
servant) will be put in the genitive ; and this shows that the 
three passive forms are in reality verbal nouns denoting the 
object, the instrument, or the place of an action. The first 
is analogous to the Latin alumnus, the object of nourishing, 
the person nourished; the second to the Latin aratrwn, the 
plough, the instrument of ploughing ; the third to the Latin 
auditorium, the place of hearing. The three passive senten- 
ces, then, in the Philippine language, would be exactly ren 
dered into Enghsh as follows : ist. ' The servant's object of 
search was the book with the light in the chamber ; ' 2d. ' The 
servant's instrument of search for the book was the 'light in 
the chamber ; ' 3d. ' The servant's place of search for the 
book with the light was the chamber.' 




IN all the uses of the subjunctive there is a common nega- 
tive element. It never expresses the conception of reality. 
This conception, which is always present with the indicative, 
is always absent from the subjunctive. But in the uses of 
the subjunctive there are also positive elements ; there are 
special conceptions which it is fitted to express. The first of 
these probably in the order of time is that oi wishing. There 
is no doubt that.y//«, velim, edim, dnifn contain the formative 
i or ja of the Sanskrit potential, the Greek optative, the Teu- 
tonic subjunctive. So also the present subjunctives in em, es, 
et, etc., of the first conjugation, and possibly those in am, as, 
at, etc., of the other conjugations ; though the latter are gen- 
erally supposed to correspond to the Greek subjunctive and 
the Sanskrit Z^/-form of the Vedic language. As to the 
other tenses of the Latin subjunctive, while the imperfect at 
least is still involved in much obscurity, it can hardly be 
doubted that they all contain this same i or ya. And of that 
^ element the primitive function was probably optative ; it was 
^at first the expression of a wish. On this assumption, appa- 
rently, we can most easily and naturally explain the uses of 
the forms which contain this element through our whole 
family of languages. At this point, then, we begin with the 
Latin Subjunctive. 

I. The Latin subjunctive is used to express an action as de- 
sired or wished for. Thus in exhortation, request, command, 
deprecation, prohibition, etc. With the idea of wishing is 
naturally associated that of aim : from desire we proceed to 
purpose, and then to effort for the attainment of our purpose. 
Hence — 


2. The Latin subjunctive is used to express an action as 
aimed at or striven for (acted for). Fearing implies wish or 
aim that something may not take place ; and it is therefore ex- 
pressed by ne with the subjunctive : that is, expressed as ne- 
gative purpose. In the uses hitherto considered, there is a 
conscious tendency toward an object which is both expected 
and desired. But the idea of desire may fade out, leaving 
only that of conscious tendency toward an expected object. 
Hence — 

3. The Latin subjunctive is used to express an action as 
looked toward and waited for. So in many dependent sen- 
tences beginning with ' until ' and ' as long as.' This forward 
looking of the subjunctive is illustrated by the fact that it is 
commonly used with antequmn and priusquam, while post- 
quain regularly takes the indicative. But the tendency ex- 
pressed by the subjunctive is not necessarily a conscious (or 
subjective) one, a movement of the mind ; it may be an un- 
conscious (or objective) tendency, a movement of circum- 
stances or causes, tending toward some result, that result 
being conceived of not as real, but only as the object of a 
tendency. Hence — 

4. The Latin subjunctive is used to express an action as a 
result, as that toward which there is a tendency. The Latin 
is apt to think of things characteristic or customary in this 
way, to conceive them as what the circumstances, conditions, 
or cases tend to produce. Noii is est qui hoc patiattir — there 
is no tendency in his case to such endurance, it is not his 
habit or character to endure this. But the idea of tendency 
which we have traced through all these uses may itself grow 
dim and fade out, partially or wholly, leaving that of an ex- 
pectable or possible event. Hence — 

5. The Latin subjunctive may express an action as a pos- 
sible event. And by " possible" here I do not mean ' feasible, 
practicable,' that for whose production there exist adequate 
powers. I mean simply ' liable to occur,' that which has 
more or less chance for existence. This is the potential sub- 
junctive. It presents the mode in its dimmest, most attenu- 
ated state, with the minimum of positive elements over and 
above that negative one, that mere absence of a concep- 


tion of reality, which we noticed at the outset. In many cases, 
indeed, it might be argued, not without plausibility, that the 
positive elements were wholly effaced, and that the subjunc- 
tive expressed the action simply as divested of all conception 
of reality. This is Baumlein's theory of the Greek optative ; 
but I have never been able to satisfy myself that the uses of 
the optative could be accounted for with that factor only. 

We have thus endeavored to find a probable (or, at least, 
a natural) genetic development for the uses of the Latin sub- 
junctive, starting from what seems to be the historic starting- 
point, in the idea of wishing. If we look at the actual uses 
as they lie before us, irrespective of origin or order of de- 
velopment, the prevailing notion which links them together 
appears to be that of tendency. The subjunctive expresses 
an action as that toward which there is a tendency, either in 
the conscious desires, aims, expectations of some person, or 
in unconscious bearings of circumstances known or unknown 
to the speaker. We have in English a form of expression 
in which this idea of tendency is very explicitly and sharply 
presented ; it consists of the substantive verb followed by the 
infinitive with to : as, they are to go, that is, they are toiuard 
going. But this differs in two points at least from the Latin 
subjunctive : it is confined in use to objective or outward 
tendencies, and it contains (where the substantive verb is in 
the indicative mode) — a conception of reality. 

It is often difficult to say, in regard to particular uses of the 
mode, where they belong in this scale of development, to* 
which of these categories we ought to refer them. Thus, 
the so-called subjunctive of deliberation, or of deliberative 
questions. We might think of it as a potential subjunctive, 
and so Professor Harkness gives it in his Grammar. There 
may be no objection to this, considered as a practical ar- 
rangement. But it can hardly be doubted that the subjunc- 
tive here is in reality one of wish or aim. The real question 
in such cases is what the person addressed would like or 
would counsel : quidfaciamiis, ' what would you have us do, 
what would you propose or advise that we should do ? ' A 
visne, or something of that kind, may always be supplied. 
Tofaciatis used without interrogation, in the sense * may you 


do,' 'you are (by my desire) to do,' corresponds the ques- 
tion quid faciamus, ' what may we do,' ' what are we (by 
your desire) to do ? ' On the other hand, in the dependent 
question, and in the so-called intermediate clauses of the 
oratio obliqua, the subjunctive must be referred to the last 
head, as expressing possible event. What in the oratio recta 
is viewed as a reality becomes a possibility in the obliqua. 
By the first speaker it is conceived as a reality ; to the second 
speaker (the quoter), who sees it only as a conception of the 
first, the character of reality falls away ; to him it is a mere 
possibility. Thus the question' " when did they come," di- 
rectly put, t& equivalent to ' they came : tell me when : let 
me know the time of what I view as a real coming.' But the 
indirect form, " my friend asked when they came," is equiva- 
lent to * my friend asked the time of their coming — a coming 
which I have nothing to say about : however real to him, it 
is only a may-be to me.' Again, the subjunctive of cause is 
probably to be explained from the idea of result. Quce 
quuni ita sint, ' the case being such that these things are so,' 
' as circumstances tend to these results,' it follows, etc. The 
most difficult use of the mode is that of the imperfect and 
pluperfect subjunctive with quum, 'when :' as in qiiuni Casar 
veniret in Galliani. Though this construction is often used 
where the two facts, expressed by the principal and the de- 
pendent sentence, are connected only in time, it may be con- 
jectured that this was not always so, that the subjunctive 
»with qimm was at first used where the facts had a causal con- 
nection, and that the merely temporal use grew out of a 
gradual and not strictly proper extension of that form. Not 
that qtitiin veniret became absolutely equivalent to qtmm 
vejiit : the conception of reality was still wanting to the 
former ; qutim veniret was nearly equivalent to tempore ve- 
niendi. But I think that it stands by itself among the uses 
of the subjunctive; and that it is not to be explained by a 
natural development of meaning in the mode, but rather by 
the extension of a form beyond the sense which properly 
belonged to it — the form which was properly employed for a 
causal connection was improperly extended to cases where 
there was only a temporal connection. 


I will notice, further, what seems to me a very unfortunate 
feature in Madvig's treatment of the Latin subjunctive. Not 
content with the four tenses usually recognized in this mode, 
he has given it two more, a future and a future perfect. His 
future subjunctive is a periphrastic form composed of the 
future participle with the present subjunctive of the verb * to 
be : ' amatiirus sim. His futur eperfect is a mere repetition of 
the perfect ; amaveritn is given twice over, once as^erfect, 
and again as future perfect. These tenses, however, he con- 
fines to the active voice : to the subjunctive passive he allows 
neither perfect nor future perfect. But if amaveritn is two 
tenses in one form, why not amatiis sivi also ? If amaveritn 
has the two uses ' I may now have loved ' and ' I may here- 
after have loved,' the passive amattis sim is susceptible of the 
two similar uses, ' I may now have been loved ' and ' I may 
hereafter have been loved.' If we recognize amaveritn as a 
future perfect in the active voice, there is no reason why we 
should not recognize amatus sim as a future perfect in the 
passive. That Madvig has not done so, that he has failed to 
give a future perfect subjunctive in the passive, is probably 
because he did not see what to do for a future subjunctive in 
that voice. He could not find anything which would cor- 
respond to his future subjunctive active attiatiirtis sim. There 
is no future participle of the passive voice : amandus sim 
would convey an idea of necessity. But if we leave the 
passive out of view, and look only to the active, the scheme 
is misleading. It is right in recognizing a double use of 
amaveritn, as a present and a future of complete action. But 
it covers up the fact, which is of great importance in the 
theory of the mode, .that the form amem is similarly double 
in use : it means not only * I may now love,'- but also ' I may 
hereafter love.' If ^w^z/^-rm is repeated for a perfect and a 
future perfect, atnetn ought equally to be repeated for a 
present and a future. The student of Madvig's Grammar 
would naturally think that atnetn had only the present sense, 
* I may now love,' and that the corresponding future ' I may 
love hereafter' must be expressed by amatiirus sim. But in 
fact atnatiirtis sim has not precisely this meaning. It differs 
from atnem used in future sense just as amaturus sum differs 


from the future indicative amaho. The truth is that 
amaturus sum is a present indicative of prospective (or con- 
templated) action ; and in hke manner, amaturus eram is an 
imperfect indicative, and amaturus sim, amaturus essem are 
present and imperfect subjunctive, of prospective action. 
We have a full series of these tense-forms for prospective 
action. To take one of them, as Madvig does, and treat it, 
without reference to the others, as belonging to the same 
series with amem, amarem, amaverim, etc., can hardly be a 
justifiable procedure. 





A FAVORITE poet declares, in a passage often quoted, 
that " Error, wounded, writhes with pain, and dies 
among his worshippers." The saying has its truth, doubtless, 
when taken in reference to the grand results of world-history ; 
but it gives no hint of the extreme tenacity of life which 
error often shows, or of its frequent strange revivals after 
seeming death. The champion of science cannot presume 
that an error, once crushed, will never raise its head again : 
too often he is forced to personate the comic hero of whom it 
was said that " thrice he slew the slain." 

These remarks are suggested by a recent essay on the s of 
the English possessive — the s seen in horse s head, Mary's 
book, children's dress, and the like. Its author's object is to 
infuse new life into the old theory which viewed this j as a 
remnant of the possessive pronoun his ; so that the examples 
just given would be forms, abridged and altered in rapid 
utterance, of what was originally horse HIS head, Mary HIS 
book, children HIS dress. As the essay referred to appears in 
a place so respectable as the published Transactions of the 
Philological Society (London, 1864), as it occupies nearly 
ninety pages of that journal, and is written with evident labor 
and considerable appearance of learning, it may be worth 
while to spend some little time in reviewing its positions and 
arguments. In one respect, as an instance of authorship in 
advanced years, it may almost be reckoned among the curiosi- 
ties of literature. Its author — "James Manning, Q.A.S., 
Recorder of Oxford " — describes himself as writing in the 
eighty- third year of his age. It should seem that, after a life 
of active labor in his profession as a lawyer, he has found a 
pleasant and honorable recreation for his old age in philologi- 


cal studies. That these studies have excited a keen interest 
in his mind must be apparent to any reader of this essay. 
He discusses his theme — perhaps we should rather say, he 
pleads his cause — with all the warmth and earnestness of an 
advocate. His materials of argument and illustration could 
not have been collected without considerable expenditure of 
time and effort. He has looked into the grammar of the 
Anglo-Saxon, and even into that of the Moeso-Gothic. To 
the grammar .of the popular dialects of Germany he has given 
a good deal of attention ; and still more to the Semi-Saxon 
form of our own language, as represented in the two texts of 
Layamon's Brut, and to the Old English which followed it. 
It must be confessed, however, that his knowledge is far from 
sufficient ; and that he has fallen into numerous misappre- 
hensions and errors, from which more thorough study would 
have saved him. 

Mr. Manning's thesis may be stated thus : The old inflec- 
tional genitive of the yVnglo-Saxon was given up in the 13th 
century ; it was almost wholly discarded at that period ; and 
was replaced in most of its uses by the preposition of — which 
preposition, by the way, he strangely designates as " Scan- 
dinavian ; " forgetting that it is found, not only in the earliest 
Anglo-Saxon, but also in the Moeso-Gothic af, and even in 
the High German ab ; that it belongs, therefore, to the 
whole Teutonic class of languages, and not specially to the 
Scandinavian branch of it. He maintains (I say) that the 
Anglo-Saxon genitive, discarded in the 13th century, was re- 
placed in most of its uses by the preposition of ; but that for 
the possessive relation there sprung up at the same time a 
different form of expression, a form in which the name of 
the possessor was followed by the name of the thing pos- 
sessed, with the pronoun his interposed between them : thus, 
horse his head. This interposed his he describes as sex-less and 
number-less, denoting mere possession, without distinguish- 
ing either the gender or the nuipber of the possessors ; so as 
to be used with perfect facility and propriety in such expres- 
sions as Mary his book, children his dress. From this his the 
h was naturally dropped in rapid utterance, leaving 'is ; and 
in time the vowel of is was generally suppressed in pronun- 


ciation, leaving a mere s, which, since the i6th century, is 
written with the apostrophe. 

On the other hand, the prevaihng, and (as we think) the 
correct view of this subject may be stated thus. The old 
inflectional genitive of the Anglo-Saxon has never been given 
up ; it has never at any period ceased to be in use ; it has 
come down by uninterrupted tradition from the earliest times 
to the present day. But it has undergone extensive changes in 
use and function. In the Gothic — and so, doubtless, in the 
primitive Teutonic — s was the universal ending of the geni- 
tive singular, in all genders and for every kind of stem. The 
Anglo-Saxon preserves this s in vowel-stems of the masculine 
and neuter genders, but has lost it in all feminines and in all 
//-stems : in fact, as regards the s of the genitive singular, the 
Anglo-Saxon stands on much the same footing as the modern 
German. But in the early English, we find the s extended 
again to the feminines and the «-stems (these last losing their 
n) ; so that s becomes once more the universal ending of the 
genitive singular : although in some few words of common 
occurrence — such as fader, vioder, brother, ladi, sawle 
('soul'), etc. — the genitive without s, which belonged to 
them in Anglo-Saxon, maintained itself, at least in occa- 
sional use, down to the time of Chaucer, or even later still. 
The s of the genitive, indeed, extended itself still more 
widely, and passed into the plural, making, for instance, 
men's, children's, as genitives of men, children. At the same 
time, there is a change in position and in function : the geni- 
tive can no longer stand after the word on which it depends, 
but must always come before it ; and it no longer expresses 
the same variety of relations as before, but is now, in the 
main, a possessive case. On this latter point we add a few 
words of explanation. The Anglo-Saxon genitive, like the 
Greek and Latin, expresses a great variety of relations 
between one substantive and another — in general, all the 
relations which are, or may be, expressed by our of. The 
English genitive, on the other hand, is called a possessive, 
and properly so ; for this is its leading use, and ' ' a potiori 
novien fit." But Mr. Manning is clearly wrong when he 
contends that our case in s always carries a possessive mean- 


ing. In the phrase " in consequence of the prisoner's being 
absent," he holds that the "prisoner" is thought of as a 
possessor, and the " being absent" as a thing in his posses- 
sion. This is, evidently, forced and unnatural. The truth is, 
that the English case in s has not only the possessive use of 
the Anglo-Saxon genitive, but the other uses which stand 
nearest to this. Thus it is constantly employed to denote 
connection in family, or state, or society: as in John's 
brother, Henrys neighbor, England's qneen, the king's ene- 
mies — in old English we find even the king's traitors. Mr. 
Manning might, perhaps, argue that to say the king' s ene- 
mies implies that "the king has enemies," and expresses, 
therefore, a possessive relation. But the verb have is a word 
of very general meaning, which can be used in a multitude of 
cases where there' is no possession, properly so called, and 
sometimes even where our possessive case would be inad- 
missible. Thus, every apple has a half, but we cannot say 
" every apple's half." Still further, our case in s is used to 
express the subject of an action or an attribute : as in cozv- 
ard's fear, God's love, the prisoner's being absent. But 
relations which stand at a wider distance from the possessive 
cannot be expressed in this way. Thus, the objective rela- 
tion : we do not say God's fear, but the fear of God ^ not 
the child's guardianship, but the guardianship of the child. 
We do indeed say England's ruler, the child's guardian ; but 
here it is political or social connection that is thought of, 
and not the object of an action. In like manner, our case 
in s cannot be used as a genitive partitive (not women's 
loveliest, but loveliest of tvomen) ; nor as a genitive of 
material (not leather's girdle, but girdle of leather^ ; nor as a 
genitive of designation (not Italy's kingdojn, but kingdom of 
Italy) . 

We have thus described the view commonly taken by 
grammarians and philologists in reference to the English pos- 
sessive in s : it is,. that this case is derived by uninterrupted 
tradition, though not without important chaiiges in use and 
function, from the Anglo-Saxon genitive in s. Mr. Manning 
admits that this is the established view : but he considers it 
to be only a long-received and deeply-rooted error, which 


must be dislodged from the minds of men in order to make 
room for the admission of the truth. He therefore assails it 
with a strenuous polemic, bringing forward a great array of 
objections, which he numbers from i to ii. In these, how- 
ever, there is some repetition, and we may reduce them all 
under a few heads. 

First, he contends that, if the English possessive were the same 
withthe Anglo-Saxon genitive, it would be confined, as the lat- 
ter is, to masculines and neuters, and to a part only of these ; it 
would be excluded from all feminines, from all «-stems, and 
from all plurals. But surely, there is nothing more common 
in the history of language than to find an inflection extended 
beyond the class of words that originally had it, and applied 
to other classes that originally excluded it. Thus the plural 
of nouns in Spanish ends in s ; originally this s belonged only 
to masculines and feminines : as libros, ' books,' Lat. ace. 
plur. libros ; mesas, ' tables,' Lat. mensas ,' virttides, ' vir- 
tues,' Lat. z'irtutes — but it has been extended to neuters also : 
pomos, 'apples,' Lat. poma ; reynos, 'kingdoms,' Lat. rcgna. 
The Proven9al dialect of the Romance has preserved the 
Latin s of the nominative singular — as in ans, ' year,' Lat. 
annus — but has extended it to words which were without 
it in the Latin — as litres, ' book,' Lat. liber— ^nd even to 
neuters — as atirs, 'gold,' Lat. anrtim ; eels, 'sky,' Lat. 
ccelum ' cors, 'heart,' I^at. eor j fltims, 'river,' Lat. fliinien. 
The ancient Greek itself, in many adjectives of the vowel-de- 
clension, has extended the masculine form to the feminine : 
thus, r\(jvyc,<i, ' quiet,' which is properly masculine, is used 
also as feminine. That this is an innovation of the Greek 
appears from a comparison of the Sanskrit, Latin, and Gothic, 
in which — and, doubtless, in the Indo-European before 
them — the adjective «-stems always have a distinct form for 
the feminine. 

Secondly, it is objected that, if the English possessive were 
the same with the Anglo-Saxon genitive, it would, of neces- 
sity, have all the same functions, and would be capable of 
serving for all uses of the Anglo-Saxon genitive. But again, 
it is a common thing in the history of language to find an in- 
flectional form undergoing some change of function, giving 


up a sense which it once had, or taking on a sense which it 
had not. An extreme instance of this kind is seen in the 
Greek present infinitive passive [e. g. ypdcpeadat. ' to be 
written'), which, in the modern Greek, according to the 
Grammar of Professor Sophocles, is used only after the verb 
6e\o}, to form a continued future passive : thus 6e\et 
ypd<peadai,, ' it will be written,' or, more exactly, ' it will be in 
process of being written.' Here the identity of form with 
the ancient jpacpeaOaL is beyond all question ; but to what a 
minimum has shrunk the widely extended use of the old in- 
finitive ! The Latin perfect indicative has two uses, which 
are often distinguished as definite and indefinite : thus, 
posiiertmt may mean either ' they have placed ' (equivalent to 
the Greek perfect), or ' they placed ' (equivalent to the Greek 
aorist). But in the Romance languages, the corresponding 
form has lost the first of these uses, retaining only the last : 
in Spanish, for instance, ptiszeron, which represents the Latin 
posuerunt, means only ' they placed ; ' for ' they have placed,' 
the Spanish, like the English, uses the verb have with a pas- 
sive participle : thus, han piiesto. The Indo-European pres- 
ent tense, as we find it in the old Teutonic languages, has 
taken on an additional use, and serves both as a present and 
a future : thus the Gothic gibith means both * he gives ' and 
' he will give.' In the modern Teutonic languages, this ad- 
ditional use is given up, and the tense has become, what it 
was at first, a present only. And yet the th of our giveth, 
or the s of our gives, is unquestionably the same ending as the 
tk of Gothic gibith, the / of Latin dat, and the // of Indo-Eu- 
ropean daddti. 

Closely connected with the objection we are considering is 
another which has been urged by Professor Goldstiicker in a 
review of Mr. Manning's essay (see " The Reader ; " London, 
Sept. 24, 1864). It is impossible, he maintains, that an in- 
flexional form, Hke the Anglo-Saxon genitive in s, should 
maintain itself in use alongside of a prepositional expression 
— viz. of with the accusative — which could be used instead 
of it everywhere with precisely the same meaning. But to 
this impossibility we may oppose a reality offered by the 
Latin language. Here the old inflectional locative did 


maintain itself in certain words, as a designation of the place 
' where,' alongside of a prepositional form — viz. /// with the 
ablative — which could be used instead of it everj'where with 
precisely the same meaning. Examples of this old locative 
are Roma, originally Roinai, ' at Rome,' Corinthi^ originally 
Corintho'i, 'at Corinth,' ruri, 'in the country,' domi, 'at 
home,' etc. It has become greatly restricted in use, being 
nearly confined to names of towns, and among these to words 
of the first or second declension. Other words used to desig- 
nate the place ' where' are put in the ablative with in, as in pro- 
vincial in situ ; and even names of towns of the first or 
second declension are susceptible of the same construction. 
True, it is not idiomatic to say in Roma / but when an ap- 
positive (as nrbs) is added, in tirbe Roma is the regular form. 
Even in these points our English usage presents a curious 
analogy. We do not say this is the house of Jack ; the form 
is intelligible, but nobody uses it ; we say this is Jack's house : 
but with an appositive added, this is the house of my cousin 
Jack is a familiar form of expression. 

Thirdly, the ending s of the English possessive is used in 
various connections and constructions where, in Mr. Alan- 
ning's opinion, it is impossible to explain it as a genitive case- 
inflection, or indeed in any way except as the pronoun his. 
Thus in Ccesars crossing the Rubicon, he asserts, with much 
confidence, that no inflected language could use its genitive 
to translate Ccesars ; that, instead of a genitive, it would be 
necessary to use some expression with instrumental meaning. 
But surely, there are scholars enough in his own city of 
Oxford who could have told him that 77 Kaia-apof; Sid^aa-tf; 
Tov ^Pov^LKcovos IS at once idiomatic Greek and an exact 
rendering of Ctesars crossing the Rubicon. The Kaiaapof 
and Ccesars in these expressions are not, indeed, true posses- 
sives, as he holds in reference to the latter ; they are genitives 
used to denote the subject of an action. Again, he finds a 
more reasonable cause of diflSculty in forms such as John and 
Walter s house, husband and ■wife's children : the latter, he 
says, if wife's were a real genitive, would be like saying in 
Latin vir et uxoris liberi, which, of course, would give a dif- 
ferent meaning, viz. ' the husband and the children of the 


wife.' But would this be further out of the way than vir et 
uxffr ejus liberi (* husband and wife, the children of that one '), 
the Latin form which would correspond to Mr. Manning's 
theory ? He has himself suggested the true explanation, 
when he refers to ordinals such as th'ee and twentieth, where 
the formative ending eth is applied to the copulative tJiree and 
twenty taken as one complex whole. He does not deny that 
three and twentietJi is good English, though tres et vicesimus 
would be very poor Latin. He refers also to similar forms of 
expression in other languages, as hulf- und hoffnnngslos in 
German, literally * help- and hopeless,' i. e. ' helpless and 
hopeless ; ' feliz- y valerosamente in Spanish, literally ' fortu- 
nate- and valorously, i. e. 'fortunately and valorously.' Yet 
again, he finds a difficulty in such expressions as King of 
England' s crown : if our possessive were a real genitive, we 
should have to say (he thinks) King's crown of Englahd, or 
crown King's of England. He will not admit that King of 
England can be treated as one complex whole, receiving in- 
flection at the end ; though it is hard to see how this would 
differ in principle from the formation just noticed in three and 
twentieth. Can any one say that in three and twenty the two 
numerals are more closely connected by and than the two 
substantives in King of England are connected by of? On 
the contrary, it would be more plausible to regard the prepo- 
sition as forming the closer connection. It is to be observed 
that this formation is not readily used except when we are 
accustomed to hear the combination — the two substantives 
connected by of — as the recognized name of some well-under- 
stood object : thus we say the King of England's crown, but 
hardly a bishop of the chnrch's income, rather the income of a 
bishop of the chnrch / hardly the f?ien of property's influence, 
rather the influence of the men of property. We observe also 
that examples are not wholly wanting of other endings applied 
in the same way : thus, from Church of England is formed, 
at least in popular parlance, if not in the language of books, 
the expression Church-of-Englandism, for which assuredly 
no one would think of substituting Churchism of England. 
There remains still another form of expression — seen in the 
examples, he is a servant of my brother's, I am going to try 


that new horse of my neighbor s — which Mr. Manning regards 
as irreconcilable with the genitive origin of our possessive. 
The preposition of (he says) requires an objective case, and, 
according to his explanation, would have it even here ; a 
servant of my brother s being equivalent to a servant of my 
brother HIS, in which brother is an objective case, and his a 
possessive agreeing with servant. It cannot be denied that 
there is some difficulty in explaining this usage. Lowth 
treated the genitive here as having a partitive construction, and 
depending on a word understood : a servant of my brother's 
he viewed as standing for a servant of {i. e. of the number of] 
my brother s servants : the latter was the full logical form, 
but the repetition in it of the word servant was unnecessary 
and disagreeable, and \\2& therefore dispensed with. To this 
explanation of Lowth, Mr. Manning objects that a servatit of 
my bi'other's does not of necessity mean one of my brother's 
servants : if my brother has but one servant, and I am aware 
of the fact, I may still say with propriety * ' the person whom 
you saw was a servant of my brother s." Or, to take a clearer 
case, a man might say " that wife of my son's is always teas- 
ing me," without in the least accusing his son of bigamy (or 
of Brigham-y, if one may coin a Mormon name for a Mormon 
institution). It is possible, however, to modify Lowth's ex- 
planation so as to escape the force of this objection. We 
may regard the possessive, when thus used, as depending — at 
least in many cases — not on a particular word repeated from 
wha't precedes, but on a general indeterminate conception of 
' that which is possessed.' In speaking of one particular thing, 
I may say " it is my brother's house ; " of a second, " it is my 
brother's servant ;" of a third, " it is my brother's heart ; " and 
so on. Of course, there are a great multitude of things which 
can be put after my brother s in such a sentence. Conceive 
now the aggregate, the collective totality, of these things, and 
you have the general, indeterminate conception of which we 
are speaking. It is an element of some importance in the 
theory of syntax. In the sentence "deal as thou wilt with 
him and his," the subject of the possessive his can only be 
this general conception : ' his belongings,' * the sum of all 
those things of which each one can be called his' — such is the 


sense of the expression. If we say " all mine is thine," it is 
plain that both possessives have this same indeterminate sub- 
ject. If, then, we say " all mine is my brother's," it is plain 
that the possessive case brother's must depend on the same 
indeterminate subject as the possessive pronoun mine. Now 
it is easy and natural to apply the same explanation to such 
forms as this soul of mine, that wife of my brother s. There 
is a greater difficulty in explaining that friend of hers, of ours, 
of yours, of theirs, where we should expect of her, our, your, 
their. It is known, however, that these forms — hers, ours, 
etc. — are not very ancient ; and it can hardly be doubted 
that, from being already accustomed to hear and to say it is 
John's, it is Mary's, it is my cousin s, it is the Prince's, and the 
like, men were led by false analogy to say it is hers for the 
earlier it is her, it is ours for it is our y and in like manner, 
a friend of hers for a friend of her, a friend of ours for a 
friend of our, etc. There are very few, probably, who will 
think it more plausible to explain these forms as Mr. Manning 
does — that is, as abridged for the fuller and earlier forms, a 
friend of her his, a friend of our his, and so on. 

Such are Mr. Manning's objections to the common view of 
our possessive case. It need hardly be said that they are not 
decisive against it. They do not require its falsity. The ut- 
most we can say is that, if another view were strongly sup- 
ported by positive proof, these objections might be used, 
with more or less effect, to clear the ground for its reception. 
Positive proof for his own thesis Mr. Manning seeks to draw 
from two different sources, the popular dialects of Germany, 
and the early English writers. What he has collected on the 
German dialects forms the most interesting part of his essay. 
He shows, in fact, that a form of expression analogous to 
John Smith his book is widely current in them. Thus we find 
in popular German des Vaters sein Buch (' the father's his 
book ') ; des Goldschmieds sein Jimge (' the goldsmith's his 
apprentice ') ; dein Aufwand ubertrifft den Aufwand des 
Fursten seinen ('thy expenditure exceeds that of the Prince's 
his ') ; Jeder Jiatte ein Pferd mitgebracht (' each had brought 
a horse with him '), aber des einen seins war blind (' but the 
one's his was blind '), des andern seins, laJivi (' the other's 


his, lame '). Similar expressions are met with even in re- 
spectable literary works. Schmidt, in his GeschicJite der 
Deiitschen, says des Alfonstcs scitie Machte (' Alphonso's his 
powers '). Gellert has dies Beiwort ist noch mahlcrischer als 
Homers seines (' this epithet is yet more picturesque than 
Homer's his '). It will be observed that in all the instances 
now given the name of the possessor is put in the genitive. 
But in Upper Germany the dative is used instead of this gen- 
itive : as in dem Vater s^in Buck (' to the father his book ') ; 
dem Goethe sein Gedicht (' to Goethe his poem '). And in the 
popular language the name of the, possessor can be put in 
the same case as the thing possessed : as, fass Kiirdchen sein 
Hiitchen (' take little Conrad his little hat '), where Kurdchen 
and Hutchen are both in the accusative ; in dem Wolfe seinent 
Leib (' in the wolf Ids body '), where Wolfe and Leib are both 
in the dative. Mr. Manning speaks of these forms as very 
old — apparently, because he finds them in the brothers 
Grimm's Kinder- nnd HausjiidJirchen. I cannot see that he 
traces them farther back than the 17th century. He gives us 
no example of them from the Middle High German. And 
there is one thing about them which makes strongly against 
his hypothesis. When the possessor is feminine or plural, 
sein is not used, but ihr, ' her,' or ihr, ' their,' is used instead. 
Thus, der Mutter ihr Kleid (' the mother's her gown '), der 
Kinder ihr Spielzeug (' the children's their playthings '), den 
Elterii ihre Sorgen (' to the parents their cares '), Fran Wolf 
ihre Tochter ('Mrs. Wolf's her daughters'). According to 
the same analogy, we should expect in English, not mother 
his gown, the supposed original of our mother's gown, but 
mother her gowm j not children his playthings, the supposed 
original o{ children s play thifigs , hvXcJuldren their playthings. 
Mr. Manning feels the difficulty, and takes great pains to get 
rid of it. He shows that, in the old German, sein, used as a 
reflexive, could mean 'her' and 'their,' and that it some- 
times had this use even when not reflexive. This may be 
true, but it makes against his cause : for if sein was capable 
of meaning 'her' and 'their,' it is all the more remarkable 
and significant that people never said der Mutter sein Kleid, 
der Kinder sein Spielzeug, but always used the pronoun ihr 


instead. Mr. Manning goes back to the Moeso-Gothic, where 
sein is always reflexive, and shows that, as such, it can mean 
' her' and ' their' as well as ' his.' He shows that the Latin 
suus, which is likewise always reflexive, has the same range 
of meaning (' his,' 'her,' 'their'). And from all these facts 
he draws the conclusion that our English his could be used 
with equal range of meaning — that it could be used for 
'her' and 'their.' But this does not follow. Suns and 
sein are derived from a root se, sve, sva, ' self,' which denotes 
personality without gender : suus and sein mean ' belonging 
to self,' of whatever gender or number that" self" may be. 
Not so the Anglo-Saxon genitive his. It is true that the root 
hi, from which it comes, is found also in the feminine and the 
plural ; but then it always shows a different sufiix : ' belong- 
ing to a feminine hi ' is expressed by hi-re (Gothic hi-zos) ; 
' belonging to a plural///' is expressed hy hi-r a (Gothic hi-ze, 
hi-zo) ; his can only mean ' belonging to a singular hi of the 
masculine or neuter gender.' Mr. Manning endeavors to 
show that the forms he, his, him are pretty promiscuously 
used in early English, for the feminine as well as for the mas- 
culine and neuter. This is true as to he, and for an obvious 
reason : the accusative singular feminine of the Anglo-Saxon 
pronoun was hi, and in early English this accusative (written 
as hi or he) is sometimes used as a nominative, instead of the 
regular hco (the nominative she is of later appearance). But 
it is decidedly not true as to his and him. Where these ap- 
pear to be feminine, it will be found almost always that they 
refer to such words as wife.^ maiden, child, and others, which 
are neuter in Anglo-Saxon and Old English. Mr. Manning 
has utterly failed to show that his was ever freely applied in 
reference to feminine words. That it was ever freely used 
for the plural, he has not even attempted to show. And, in- 
deed, he is evidently aware that his theory is open to objec- 
tion at this point ; he sees that, for some at least, it will be 
hard "to believe that his was employed with distinct conscious- 
ness of its pronoun-character in such expressions as the 
mother his gown, the children his playthings. He has no 
trouble in believing it himself; but for those " of little faith" 
who cannot do so, he suggests a way of getting over the dif- 


ficulty. We may suppose (he says) that his was first em- 
ployed in this manner only after nouns of the singular num- 
ber and of the mascuHne or neuter gender ; that it was con- 
fined for a time to such expressions as the father his book, the 
horse his head, the land his rider ; that in these it gradually 
lost its force as a separate pronoun, restricted (like other pro- 
nouns) in gender and number, and came to be regarded as a 
mere sign of the possessiv^e relation ; and that in this condi- 
tion it began at length to be employed after feminines and 
plurals. The process, thus hypothetically traced, is certainly 
not inconceivable. Whether it was a historical reality, must 
be determined by looking at the literary monuments of our 
language. We are thus referred to the usage of the Semi- 
Saxon and the Early English writers. In these, if anywhere, 
we must find the convincing proofs for the theory under con- 

In this field, Mr. Manning's battle-horse is the later text of 
Layamon's Brut. That interesting and invaluable relic of the 
Semi-Saxon period — which recites the mythic histor>' of Bri- 
tain in a poem of some 32,000 short lines — is preserved in two 
manuscripts. The earlier manuscript was written about the 
year 1200. It shows us the genitive case very much as it 
stood in the Anglo-Saxon, in form, position, and function ; 
with somq restrictions in its use, but still to a great extent 
the same thing. In the later manuscript, written (it is sup- 
posed) some fifty or sixty years after the first, we find con- 
siderable changes in this, as in many other features of the 
language. It is true that the ending -es of the genitive is not 
often extended to words that did not have it in the Anglo- 
Saxon. But in position, the case is no longer free to stand 
either before or after the word on which it depends : with 
only rare exceptions it stands first, as in modern English. In 
function also it is restricted, for the most part, in the same 
way as in modern English. In the earlier text, Mr. Manning 
tells us that he has been able to discover only two instances of 
the possessive pronoun his applied as a substitute for the 
Anglo-Saxon inflected possessive genitive. Unfortunately he 
has omitted to specify these two instances. Sir Frederic 
Madden, the learned editor of Layamon, says that the geni- 


tive expressed by his rarely occurs in the earlier text, but is 
found in two places, which he names (vol. i., pp. 175, 279). 
It is probable that these are the two instances spoken of by 
Mr. Manning. But any one who looks carefully at the two 
passages will see that in neither of them does his refer to the 
substantive immediately before it ; so that they are not real 
instances of the form we are discussing. But whether this 
form does or does not occur in the earlier text, there is no 
doubt that it is frequent in the later. Mr. Manning says even 
that "nearly all " the Anglo-Saxon inflexional genitives of the 
earlier manuscript become pronominal possessives [i.e. forms 
written with his instead of -es) in the later. This, however, 
is a strange exaggeration — unintentional, doubtless, but not 
the less extraordinary. I have run over the first 9,000 lines,, 
or more than a quarter of the poem, with reference to this 
point. From proper names of persons I have noted, in all, 
forty-nine genitives. In twenty-three of them the genitive 
is expressed by his : these are all masculine, and in about 
half the name ends in s. In twenty-one instances (four of 
them feminine names) we have the inflected genitive in s : in 
none of these does the name itself end in s. But there are 
five instances of names ending in s which are used without 
change as genitives, the inflexional s being apparently fused 
(as it often is now) in the final s of the name. 

We see, then, that less than half the genitives from proper 
names of persons are expressed by his. And it does not ap- 
pear that in the genitives expressed by his the possessive idea 
is at all more distinct or emphatic than it is in the inflectional 
genitives. We have " Eubrac his sones " (sons), but we have 
also " Argakj- sones ; " " Gorbonia his brother," but also 
" Morgan^.? brother ; " " Julius his men," but also " Cesar<f.y 
men;" " Cunages his hond " (hand), but also " Belyn^j 
hond ; " " Jaines his temple," but also " Appolin^'.y temple " 
(nom. Appoliii) ; and so on. In fact, we find " Albanac Jiis 
lond" (land) followed, eight lines after, by " Albanackri- folk ; " 
and '* Belyn^.y forth -fare " (departure, decease) followed, two 
lines after, by " Belyn Jiis deathe." Is it not evident that 
these are mere capricious variations of orthography, without 
difference of use, and apparently without difference of pro- 


nunciation ? From proper names of places or countries I 
have noted fifteen genitives: t^vo of these — "Wales his 
louerd " (lord), and " Leogris his lond " — are made with his ; 
while the remaining thirteen are written with inflective s, as 
" Norweyr^ king," " Lombard i^^ lond," and so on. From 
common nouns I have observed only two instances of the 
genitive expressed by his: viz., "hem his mochele mod" 
(uncle's mickle mood), and " man ///.y frouere " (man's savior). 
On the other hand, we have " hem^.y name" (uncle's name), 
" mann^.y hond " (man's hand), and so on. Indeed, the gen- 
itives of common nouns, written with inflective s, which I 
have noted, are about eighty in number: of these, many are 
possessive in the strictest sense, and four-fifths — perhaps nine- 
tenths — are susceptible of being rendered by our English pos- 
sessive. Again we ask whether it is not evident — at least as 
regards the first quarter of the poem — that the genitive ex- 
pressed by his is only an occasional orthographic varia- 
tion of the old inflectional genitive — a variation restricted, in 
the main, to masculine names of persons, in which it would 
be most natural for an unlearned scribe to substitute the pro- 
noun his for the inflection -es, the two forms being equivalent 
to his mind, and almost or altogether equivalent to his ear. 

The conclusion thus drawn is- strongly confirmed by the 
evidence of the Ormulum. This poem, of about 20,000 short 
lines, is preserved in a single manuscript, which is, not im- 
probably, the autograph of the author, the monk Ormin him- 
self. It belongs apparently to about the same age as the se- 
cond manuscript of Layamon. In the character of its noun- 
inflection it hcisa decidedly later aspect than that manuscript ; 
it approaches altogether more nearly to the modern inflection 
of the noun. But when all indications of age are taken into 
the account, it will have to be considered, probably, as pretty 
closely contemporaneous with the later manuscript of Laya- 
man. The Ormulum is especially valuable from its regular and 
careful phonetic spelling. It is a standing refutation of the 
oft-repeated fallacy, that a cast-iron orthography — a system 
which follows tradition, without regard for present pronuncia- 
tion — however inconvenient in other respects, is useful or in- 
dispensable for philological purposes. Here is a work, wholly 


without literary merit, valuable chiefly to the philologist, and 
to him chiefly from the fact that the scribe, departing freely 
from traditional modes of spelling, undertook to make his spell- 
ing represent his pronunciation. In the Ormulum we find the 
genitive restricted in position and function almost entirely as it 
is in modern English. It is regularly made with the ending -ess, 
the s being doubled merely as an orthographic sign, to show 
that the c is short. Of the form with his (or Jiiss^ as a substi- 
tute for the inflection-ending, not a single instance is found in 
the Ormulum. Nor can it be claimed with any probability 
that this genitive-ending -ess has come from the pronoun his 
by suppressing the Ji ; for the difference between the vowels e 
and i, though in ordinary manuscripts no stress could be laid 
upon it, is decisive here : when so careful a speller writes his 
always with i, and the genitive-ending always with e, we may 
be sure that he sounded, the vowels differently in the pronoun 
and the ending. But, indeed, there can be no reasonable 
question that the possessive of the Ormulum is the descendant 
and representative of the Anglo-Saxon genitive. Mr. Man- 
ning himself, quoting the line "till helless thesternesse " (to 
hell's darkness), says that " we find here the old Anglo-Saxon 
genitive." He was aware, probably, when saying this, that 
the Anglo-Saxon word hel, jDeing feminine, makes helle (with- 
out .f) in the genitive ; yet he could justly describe helless as 
an Anglo-Saxon genitive — in this sense, that it shows an 
Anglo-Saxon formation, extended in this instance a little be- 
yond the bounds which it had in that language. But if 
this formation in the Ormulum is, by Mr. Manning's own ad- 
mission, identical with the Anglo-Saxon genitive, how can it 
be denied that our English possessive in s is identical with 
the Anglo-Saxon genitive ? The -ess of the Ormulum has 
very much the same range of use as our possessive s, being al- 
ready extended to feminines, to words of the //-declension, 
and to plurals ; it takes the same uniform position before the 
word on which it depends, and it is restricted substantially to 
the same syntactical relations. And if the -ess of the Ormu- 
lum has a vowel-sound which is generally wanting to our pos- 
sessive, we find a perfect parallel to this in the ending of the 
plural, which is -ess in the Ormulum, and is now generally re- 


duced to a mere s. It is true that in writing the possessive we 
use a sign — the apostrophe — which we do-not use in writing 
the plural. And it may be true that those who first used the 
apostrophe did so because they believed the possessive s to be 
only a remnant of the separate word his. But such a belief, 
entertained at the close of the i6th century, has no more 
weight of authority than when entertained now. It could 
have rested then on ho proofs which are not accessible now ; 
and if the proofs now appear insufficient to support it, they 
must have been insufficient then. False etymology is con- 
fined to no age. It appears in various particulars of our old 
established orthography— in spelling island (for instance) as 
if it were connected with isle • in spelling sovereign as if it 
were connected with r/?z^7// and so on. If the apostrophized 
s indicates a supposed connection with his, it may be only 
another instance of the same kind. 

Mr. Manning cites, from writers of the fourteenth and fol- 
lowing centuries, a series of passages showing possessive 
cases made with hh. He carries these citations even into the 
seventeenth century. In the authorized version of the Bible, 
as first printed, there were (he says) three cases of the kind ; 
one of which — " Holofernes his head " — is to be seen, still 
unchanged, in the Apocrypha. As for the other two — " Asa 
his heart " and " Mordecai his matters " — he complains that 
they have been " altered by some careless or earless printer" 
into "Asa's heart" and " Mordecai's matters." But are 
these three cases distinguished by any special //w-ness from 
the common run of possessives in the Bible ? and, if not, then 
is it not, probably, mere carelessness, either of the printer or 
the scribe, which gave them their peculiar form in the first 
edition ? From Ben Jonson several instances are given, 
like " Sejanus his fall," " Horace /«> judgment." But as this 
is not the ordinary form of the possessive in Jonson's works, 
and as Jonson, noticing this form in his English Grammar, 
calls it (to Mr. Manning's great disgust) a " monstrous syn- 
tax," might it not be more charitable to ascribe those in- 
stances to " a careless or earless printer?" Mr. Manning 
does not disdain even to gather up some few examples from 
writers of the eighteenth century, Addison, Pope, and Sterne ; 


as if he could add anything in this way to the force of his 
previous citations ; as if he were not rather weakening the 
force of those citations, by showing that men could write as a 
separate his what they undoubtedly pronounced as a mere 
inflective s or es I 

Mr. Manning has given many examples of a possessive 
written with his : he might easily have given many more. 
But we cannot see that he has proved, or even seriously at- 
tempted to prove, that this was the prevailing form of our 
possessive at any period of time, or even in any single author. 
If in a particular book he finds one, two, or three examples 
of this form, he seems never to raise the question whether 
these are specimens of a general practice, or exceptions to a 
general practice ; though, plainly enough, the force of his 
examples must depend largely on the answer to this question. 
He notes the fact, as if it were important, that one of Chaucer's 
Canterbury Tales is entitled the " Nonne Prest his Tale." 
But he does not notice that the same tale was just before de- 
signated as the " Nonne Prest^j- Tale." In Wright's text of 
the Canterbury Tales, which is regarded as the best hitherto 
published, the possessive written with his is not only an ex- 
ception, but a rare exception, to the prevailing form. 

My opportunities for studying old English texts have been 
exceedingly limited, and I cannot therefore speak with posi- 
tiveness as to their usage in this particular. I have examined, 
however, with reference to this point, the series of extracts 
given in Mr. Marsh's Origin and History of the English Lan- 
guage. Those extracts are somewhat extended ; they repre- 
sent the leading productions of English literature from the 
close of the Anglo-Saxon period to the middle of the six- 
teenth century ; they are taken from the best texts which 
had been printed when that work appeared. In these ex- 
tracts there are many examples of the possessive in s ; but — 
aside from the later text of Layamon, which has been dis- 
cussed already — I have not been able to find a single instance 
of a possessive written with his. I say "not a single in- 
stance ; " for as to the line in the Surtees Psalter — " man his 
dales ere als hai " — I do not regard it as an instance of the 
kind. Ma7i here was. undoubtedly uttered as an independent 


word, followed by a pause ; exactly like homo in the Latin 
original — homo sic tit fceniiin dies ejus — and like man in the 
older Wycliffite version — " a man as hey his dayes." 

We conclude, then, that the genitive in ^, which belonged 
to the earliest Anglo-Saxon, has never dropped out of the 
language ; that it has never ceased to be in use. It has un- 
dergone great changes, both in the range of words that take 
it, and in the range of uses for which it is employed ; but the 
result of all these changes, the modern English possessive, is 
connected by an unbroken historical tradition with the inflec- 
tional genitive of the Anglo-Saxon. This is the common be- 
lief of scliTjlars, and it is likely to be sustained, rather than 
shaken, by the new discussion which Mr. Manning has opened 
in so spirited a manner. On the other hand, the possessive 
made by his appears, with all the new light which he has 
thrown upon it, to be only an occasional variation of the 
English possessive. It is (or rather, it was) a variation, not 
in the form itself, as heard in living utterance, but in the way 
of representing that form in writing. It arose, apparently, 
from a mistaken and fanciful etymology, which seemed to 
furnish a plausible explanation for the possessive sense ; and 
the degree of currency which it gained is, at least partly, due 
to the general inexactness and confusion of early English 



THE Second Part, which is to complete this learned and 
valuable work, was expected, according to the author's 
statement, to have about the same extent as the First, and to 
be ready for publication before the close of the year 1869. 
It will investigate the pronunciation of Anglo-Saxon and Old 
English prior to the fourteenth century, with that of the Teu- 
tonic and Scandinavian sources of the English ; it will dis- 
cuss the correspondence of orthography aijd pronunciation 
from Anglo-Saxon times to the present day ; and it will con- 
tain a series of documents and illustrations relating to the 
pronunciation of our language in the successive periods of 
its history. Its appearance will be awaited with much in- 
terest ; yet it will probably be little more than an extended 
supplement to the part now before us. It is safe to assume 
that this first part is much the more important of the two, 
not only exhibiting the author's method, but presenting us 
with the general views and opinions to which it has led him. 
We shall be in little danger of doing him injustice if we 
criticise what we already have, without waiting for that which 
is yet to come. 

It is saying little, to say that Mr. Ellis has surpassed all 
predecessors in the same field. We believe that he is the 
first who has really endeavored to collect everything which 
can throw light on the history of English pronunciation, and 
to treat the whole subject with scientific precision and 

* On Early English Pronunciation, with especial reference to Shakespeare and 
Chaucer. By Alexander J. Ellis, F.R.S., etc. Parti. On the Pronunciation of 
the XlVth, XVIth, XVIIth, and XVIIIth Centuries. London : Published for 
the Philological Society, by Asher & Co., London and Berlin; and for the Early 
English Text Society, by Triibner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row. 1869. Svo. 
pp. viii, 416. 


thoroughness. In the collection of his material he has used 
exemplar)' diligence, sparing no pains to make it complete 
and exhaustive ; and in the discussion of it he has shown a 
fairness of mind, a freedom from prejudice, a simple love 
of truth, not less exemplary. He is always careful to present 
the evidence on which his conclusions are founded, and to 
distinguish conclusions which seem to him only probable, in 
greater or less degree, from those which he regards as cer- 
tain. He does not fail to recognize the uncertainties which 
affect much of the evidence — uncertainties arising either from 
the nature of the subject or from the peculiarities of individual 
witnesses. Nor does he keep back the evidence which seems 
unfavorable to what he thinks the best-supported conclusions ; 
but presents the whole case, making it possible for the reader 
to form an independent judgment. 

In the notation of spoken sounds, Mr. Ellis uses a compre- 
hensive system, which he calls by the name palaotype (only 
the old types being used in it), and sets it forth in a brief in- 
troduction. It is based on the Roman alphabet, and contains 
no sign that cannot be found in the cases of an ordinary 
printing-office. To secure the necessary variety, italics, 
small capitals, and (in some, instances) inverted letters 
are used to denote sounds distinct from, though akin to, 
those expressed by the corresponding Roman letters. As a 
further means to the same end, the forms (h, j, iv) are used, 
without any consonant power, merely as diacritical signs, 
modifying the sounds of the letters with which they are 
connected ; while the forms (H, J, w, and q) represent the 
consonant sounds in //ay, jea, luzy, wi//^. Long vowels are 
represented by doubling the signs which stand for the cor- 
responding short vowels ; diphthongs, by writing their ele- 
mentary vowels in immediate succession ; successive vowels, 
if they do not form a diphthong, are separated by a comma. 
Words and sounds written in palaeotype, if mixed Avith or- 
dinary' writing, are distinguished by enclosing them in marks 
of parenthesis : thus, (Hr^,/q) for haying. Mr. Ellis is care- 
ful to explain that this mode of writing is not designed to 
supersede the current orthography in popular use ; it is in- 
tended for scientific purposes, as a means of designating 


conveniently and exactly the sounds heard in English and in 
other languages. In his tabular Key to Palaeotype he gives 
more than two hundred and fifty distinct sounds, with their 
notation in his system. He also compares these signs of his 
with the letter-forms devised by Mr. Melville Bell, and de- 
scribed in his "Visible Speech." The number of signs re- 
quired in treating of English pronunciation past and present 
is, of course, much less than two hundred and fifty. Among 
those which occur often in the book we may be allowed to 
give here the most important, as it will be convenient to use 
them in the statements and criticisms that we have to offer. 
The short vowels (a, e, i, o, u) have the Italian sounds ; but 
these are almost all different from the English short vowels 
in pat, pet, pit, pot, put, \wh\c\\. are represented in palaeotype 
by (ae, e, i, d, u). The long vowels (aa, ee, ii, oo. uu), with 
Italian sounds, correspond more nearly to the English long 
in par, pale, peel, pole, pool, which are represented in 
palffiotype by (aa, ee, ii, oo, uu)', where {ee, oo) are closer 
sounds than (ee, oo). The forms (y, oe) stand for the German 
u, <>. The English short and long a in zvant, war, are ex- 
pressed by the small capital (a, a a) ; the short 71 in but, by 
the inverted (a) ; the diphthongs in height, house, by (ai, 
9u) ; the diphthongal 7t in pure, by (iu). As to the conso- 
nants, we have already spoken of (h, J, w, q) ; and need only 
add (j) for the weak final r in fair, and (th, dh, sh, zh, tsh, 
dzh) for the spirant sounds in thew, thou, shoe, azure,, chew, Jew. 
Mr. Eflis commences his inquiry with the pronunciation of 
the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. From 
the known present he goes back first of all to the recent past. 
For this period he has the aid of a long series of orthoepical 
writers ; and he begins by enumerating these in the order of 
time, giving full titles of works, and adding brief descriptions 
and criticisms. The writers to whom he refers most fre- 
quently are: John Palsgrave (French Grammar), 1530; W. 
Salesbury, 1547, 1567 ; Sir Thomas Smith, 1568 ; John Hart, 
1569; William Bullokar, 1580 ; Alexander Gill, 1619 ; Ben 
Jonson (English Grammar), 1640; John Wallis (English 
Grammar), 1653 ; Philip Wilkins. (Philosophical Language), 
1668 ; Owen Price, 1668 ; C. Cooper, 1685 ; John Jones, 1701 ; 


an anonymous Expert Orthographist, 1704 ; James Buchanan 
1766 ; Benjamin Franklin (Scheme for a New Alphabet), 
1768. He manifests an especial preference for Salesbury and 
Wallis. The latter, who was Professor of Mathematics at 
Oxford, wrote a" Grammatica Litigiice Anglicance , with a 
prefixed Tractatus grajnmatico-physiais de Loquela, in which 
he gives an elaborate description of the English sounds, with 
the positions and movements of the vocal organs in produ- 
cing them. The former, a Welshman, educated at Oxford, 
prepared an English Dictionary for the use of his country- 
men, with an interesting and v^aluable introduction, written in 
Welsh, on English pronunciation. 

From such materials Mr. Ellis endeavors to reconstruct the 
prevailing pronunciation of our language during the three 
centuries which preceded our own. He does not disguise 
from himself the very great difficulties of the task. There 
are few things harder than to understand the descriptions of 
spoken sounds. Even when the writer is intelligent, it is no 
very easy matter to reproduce the precise position of the 
vocal organs, the precise utterance, which he meant to de- 
scribe. But most writers have been ignorant both of the 
physical mechanism of speech and of the true relations of 
sounds. The terms which they have used are very often 
inexact or unmeaning. Who can be sure as to the force of 
thick, thin, full, i'Oiind,flat, hard, soft, rough, smooth, coarse, 
fine, sharp, dull, clear, obscure, and many similar epithets, 
which are so commonly and so fancifully applied to vowels 
and consonants ? If the writer identifies a particular English 
sound with one in some foreign language, as the French, a 
variety of doubts at once suggest themselves. Are we sure 
that he meant to assert an absolute identity, or only a resem- 
blance, between the sounds compared ? Are we sure that 
the French sound has not varied since the time in question ? 
Are we sure that it was uniform at that time ? Are we sure 
that the writer correctly apprehended the French sound of 
which he speaks ? Misapprehension of foreign sounds is a 
thing of constant occurrence. Mr. Ellis mentions a remark- 
able instance in a lecture by Professor Blackie, of Edinburgh, 
on the pronunciation of Greek ; after saying that long a in 


Greek had the sound of Itahan a in amare, the lecturer added 
immediately that '* long a should always be pronounced like 
English rtzf or au , as \w caivl, maul, etc."! Even experts 
may differ as to the real character of the foreign sound. 
Speaking of the French vowels before the nasal ii in a7i, vm, 
on, un, Mr. Ellis represents them, first as they seem to his 
own ear, and then as they appear to Dr. Rapp, M. Feline, 
M. Favarger, and Mr. Melville Bell ; and no two of these 
gentlemen agree entirely with each other. Mr. Ellis further 
tells us that he differs from Mr. Bell in his pronunciation of 
several of the key-words which the latter has used to show 
the exact phonetic value of his symbols. 

While fully recognizing these difficulties which beset his 
inquiry, our author has not allowed himself to be deterred 
from pursuing it. Taking up in succession the English 
vowels and consonants, he endeavors to ascertain, from a 
detailed examination of his authorities, how each was sounded 
in the sixteenth century, what changes (if any) it has under- 
gone since then, and at what time they occurred. Most 
readers, we presume, will be surprised at the amount of 
change which he -^nds in English pronunciation, and espe- 
cially in the vowel sounds, since the sixteenth century. Thus, 
to commence with the short vowels, he holds that only 
e and i were pronounced then as they now are — that is, as 
(e) and {i) ; as to d, 6, ii, he believes that they were then 
pronounced (a, o, ti), the first two as in Italian, and that the 
now prevailing sounds for them, viz. (ae, o, a), as seen in the 
words cat, cot, cut, came in during the seventeenth century. 
This may be true as to 6 and i^i ; but we cannot help thinking, 
for reasons which will appear presently, that our current 
sound of a is older than he makes it — that it belonged to the 
pronunciation of the sixteenth century. 

Next, as to the long vowels. According to Mr. Ellis, the e, 
which in Chaucer's time (the fourteenth century) was always 
(ee), began to take the sound (ii) during the fifteenth. In 
the sixteenth, a practice arose of representing the latter sound 
(ii) by doubling the vowel, as ee • while the old sound (ee), 
where it remained, was often distinguished by an added a, as ea. 
Thus been, reed, greet were pronounced as (biin, riid, griit) ; but 


bean, read, great, as (been, reed, greet). At length, however, 
the new sound (ii) was extended to words which had for a time 
retained the old one, the change being particularly rapid about 
the end of the seventeenth century, so that early in the eigh- 
teenth ea had come to have in most cases the same sound as ee. 
It is curious to compare the lists of words with ea, given by 
orthoepists during the transition period, and to note the 
progress of the change. We find here, as in many such 
revolutions, that particular individuals carry out the innovat- 
ing tendency to an extent which is not finally sanctioned by 
the prevailing usage ; some writers give break, great, in- 
deavour, deaf, etc., with the sound of (ii). Mr. Ellis, by the 
way, speaks of (diif) as a pronunciation which he has never 
been fortunate enough to hear. 

The o has up to a certain point the same history as the e. 
Before the close of the fifteenth century, it had in many 
words passed from its proper sound of (00) into the closer 
(uu). And here also the practice arose in the sixteenth 
century of representing the new sound (uu) by doubling the 
letter, as 00 ; while the old sound, where it remained, was 
often distinguished by an added a, as oa. Thus moon, rood 
were pronounced as (muun, ruud) ; but moan, road, as 
(moon, rood). Here, however, the parallel ceases. The 
movement had already spenf its force before the Elizabethan 
time. While ea in most words passed on from (ee) to (ii), oa 
has never passed from (00) to (uu) ; with few exceptions — 
such ks move, prove, and (with shortened vowel) love, dove — 
the b has taken on the (uu) sound only in words where that 
sound was indicated in the sixteenth century by the writing 00. 

Long I and on, which in Chaucer's time were simple sounds^ 
the first being pronounced (ii) and the second (uu), had to a 
great extent become diphthongs in the sixteenth centurj\ 
In Mr. Ellis's opinion, they were more clearly diphthongal 
then than now, being sounded as ' ei) and (ou), where each 
vowel must be understood as having its proper force distinctly 
audible. In the present pronunciation the first element is 
obscure ; the initial position of the organs is not maintained 
long enough to give a fully characterized utterance ; hence, 
orthoepists difier much as to the first vowel sound in English 


long I and ou. Mr. Ellis regards it as (9), and writes the 
diphthongs as now pronounced (gi, su). This pronunciation, 
he thinks, came in during the seventeenth century, or perhaps 
during the latter part of the sixteenth. 

For ei and ai our author's results are particularly interest- 
ing. He shows that in the sixteenth century they were true 
diphthongs, differing little, if at all, in their pronunciation, 
which must have been much the same with that of our af- 
firmative aye. It is observed that in Shakespeare's minor 
poems there is but one real instance — in the words inane, 
again — of a rhyme between a and ai. The change by which 
these combinations came to be sounded as simple vowels — 
usually as {ee), but ei in some words as (ii) — is referred, like 
so many other changes, to the seventeenth century. 

As to long d — in sale, came, fate, etc. — Mr. Ellis's conclu- 
sions will cause greater surprise, and will perhaps meet with 
less acceptance. He holds that in the sixteenth century such 
words were pronounced (saal, kaam, faat), with the Italian 
sound of «y and that, in the seventeeth, the pronunciation 
changed to (ssesel, kaeaem, faiset), differing only in length of 
sound from our Sal, Cain, fat. This sound, which he finds 
first distinctly apparent in the description of Wallis (1653), 
would seem to have been only transitional, as it gave place at 
the close of that century to (ee), which has since passed into 
the closer {ee^ : thus, (seel, Veeva, feet). What now is the reason 
for believing that English long a had "in Shakespeare's time 
the Italian sound of af Palsgrave, in 1530, identifies the 
English letter with the Italian ; but Palsgrave's ear, as Mr. 
Ellis admits, was none of the most delicate. Hart, in 1569, 
identifies the English letter with the German, Italian, French, 
Spanish, and Welsh a / but this, as Mr. Ellis says, is too wide 
a comparison, and leaves us in doubt as to the real sound. 
The witness really relied upon is Salesbury, who says, in 
1547, that " a in English is the same sound as a in Welsh," 
and represents the pronunciation of ale, pale, sale, etc., by 
writing them for Welshmen aal, paal, sal, etc. This 
testimony makes it pretty clear that English a had not then 
the same sound as at present. If it had, Salesbury would al- 
most certainly have compared it with Welsh e ; and Palsgrave 


and Hart, with ^ in Italian, French, etc. No one now could 
for a moment think of giving a, rather than <?, in those lan- 
guages as the nearest equivalent for English long a. But as 
proof of the sound (aa), this evidence is not equally convinc- 
ing. It is curious that in the following century Wallis, whose 
testimony is regarded as clearest for the sound (seae), still 
identifies the English and Welsh a. It appears that a fraction 
of the Welsh people now give this sound (ae) to their own a ; 
and sjch possibly may have been the pronunciation of Sales- 
bury. It is, doubtless, more probable that his Welsh a was 
an (a) ; but if so, he had no Welsh letter which would cor- 
rectly represent an (ae), and he may very naturally have re- 
garded a as the nearest W^elsh equivalent. But what is most 
important, we have distinct positive evidence from indepen- 
dent witnesses that the English a, at the beginning of the six- 
teenth century', differed from the French a, and approached 
to the French e. In the fragment of a treatise on the pro- 
nunciation of French, by an unknown author, but with the 
date 1528 (two years earlier than Palsgrave's book), is found 
the following statement as to the French a and e: "A. 
ought to be pronounced fro the botom of the stomak, and all 
openly ; E. a lytell hyer in the throte, there properly where 
the englysshe man soundeth his a." Similarly, Gilles du 
Guez, in his account of French pronunciation, which seems to 
have been printed about 1532, says: "Ye shal pronounce 
your [French] a as wyde open mouthed as ye can ; your 
[French] e, as ye do in latyn , almost as brode as ye pro- 
nounce your a in englysshe." These passages do not prove 
indeed that English a was identical with French e ; in fact, 
the last of them excludes the idea of such an identity. But 
they prove an approximation of the English a to the French e, 
which is scarcely reconcilable with the sound (a) for the for- 
mer. If we should assume that English a, at the opening of 
the sixteenth century, had, nearly or exactly, the sound of (ae), 
we should account in the most natural manner for the expres- 
sions of these writers. A similar sound, at the end of this 
century, is indicated by Peter Erondell, in his French Gram- 
mar (London, 1605). Distinguishing the French a from the 
English, he represents the sound of English ale by the French 


writing ^j/ with silent s : that is, he finds the nearest equivalent 
for English a in the French open e. And Mr. Ellis himself finds 
the same sound, a = (aeae), clearly set forth in the description 
of Wallis (1653). Are we not then warranted in concluding 
that English a, as early as the year 1528, had varied from the 
normal sound of (a, aa), and had assumed this sound of (ae) 
for a, (a^ae) for a ? The change may then be referred with 
much probability to the fifteenth century ; and may naturally 
be regarded as the starting-point in that great revolution 
which, since the days of Chaucer, has, transformed the wjiole 
vowel system of our language. 

If we find ourselves obliged to dissent from Mr. Ellis on the 
pronunciation of long a, we are equally unable to agree with 
him on that of long ?/. He regards this vowel as having had, 
through the sixteenth century and much of the seventeenth, 
the same sound as the French u. The conclusion is not, in- 
deed, as incredible as it may seem at first view. Our English 
u is nearly confined to words which have come to us either 
from the French itself or from the Latin after our language 
had fallen under French influence. The Anglo-Saxon and the 
oldest English had a long il, but for five centuries it has been 
represented by on or ow. The u in Chaucer's time, and 
ever since, belongs to the Romance part of the language. 
The sound of French tt — (y, yy), as represented in palaeo- 
type — is certainly a strange and difficult one for most speakers 
of English. But Mr. Ellis assures us that it is common in 
some of the English dialects at the present time. "In East 
Anglia, in Devonshire, in Cumberland, as well as in Scotland, 
(yy) and its related sounds are quite at home;" We must ad- 
mit, then, as something quite possible, that this may have 
been a current and prevailing sound of u in the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries. It is simply a question of evidence. 
Here again, as for long a, we find a number of orthoepists 
asserting the identity of the English and French sounds. 
Among these we may reckon Palsgrave (i530)> who speaks 
only of English ew, but appears to have meant the same 
sound as that of u; also, Sfr T. Smith (1568), Hart (1569), 
Bullokar (1580), and lastly, Wallis (1653), whose testimony 
on this head is perfectly distinct and positive. Yet in this 


testimony of Wallis we find the clearest proof of. the unreli- 
able character of such identificatioi^. For Bishop Wilkins, 
in i668, speaking of the French //, declares, not only that the 
. English do not use it, but that it -is very hard for them to pro- 
nounce it. His language is: "As for the 7/ Gallicum, or 
ivhistling u, though it cannot be denied to be a distinct sim- 
ple vowel, yet it is of so laborious and difficult pronunciation 
to all those nations amongst whom it is not used [as to the 
English),'' etc. Let it be observed that Wallis and Wilkins 
were contemporaries, that both were natives of Southern 
England, that both were for some time fellow-collegians in 
Oxford, that both must have mixed in the same society, and 
that their books were separated by an interval of only fifteen 
years. The discrepancy between their statements cannot be 
accounted for by difference of time, place, education, associa- 
tion, and the like. One or the other must have been in error. 
But a writer's statement that a foreign sound is strange to his 
own people, and difficult for them to utter, is not in itself likely 
to be erroneous ; and in this case it is confirmed by other evi- 
dence, all going to show .that the pronunciation of u since 
Wilkins's time has been what it now is. If then the sound of 
French u was not used, and could hardly be pronounced, by 
the English in 1668, it cannot possibly have been the current 
sound of English 7/ in 1653. Wallis's identification must have 
'been an error ; the native and foreign sounds which he com- 
pared were not really identical. And if a writer so intelligent 
and careful as Wallis could fall into this error, we need not be 
surprised to find it in Palsgrave, Smith, Hart, etc. Indeed, 
the last-named writer seems to be at variance with himself, as 
in an earlier treatise he identifies the vowel u with the woxA you. 
He also describes it as a diphthong, composed of i and u / it is 
true, he applies the same description to the French ii / but that 
may only show that he misapprehended the foreign sound. 

But we have positive evidence that the French and English 
sounds were not identical. Erondell(i6o5), to whose French 
Grammar we have referred before, gives a careful description 
of the way in which French ;/ is to be uttered, and directs 
the learner to pronounce imisiqtie , punir , subvenir, "not after 
the English pronunciation, not as if written tnuesique, puenir. 


sjievenir," with the EngHsh tie of sue, due, etc. Holyband 
(" French Littleton," i6fi9) says : "You must take paine to 
pronounce our v \_i.e. French ti] otherwise then in Enghsh ; 
for we do think, when Enghshmen do profer v \i.e. their own 
ti], they say, you." Here Mr. EIUs finds a distinct recognition 
of our present sound of u. But we should hardly speak of 
it as " the first distinct recognition." For Salesbury himself 
(1547) indicates the same sound, when he says: "U vowel 
answers to the power of the two Welsh letters u, w, and its 
usual power is uw, as shown in the following words, TRUE 
trtiw verus, VERTUE vertiiw probitas." It is true that the 
Welsh 7iw, as heard in Duw, * God,' is not quite the same 
with oiir long u (as in cue) ; but it is a pretty near approxima- 
tion to it, and the nearest which is possible in the Welsh lan- 
guage. The difference is that in the Welsh uw^ the two ele- 
ments of the diphthong are a little more distinct ; we can 
hear the initial element as an (/), very short, but perfectly re- 
cognizable, before the closely following iii). The English 
diphthongal u oi cue, pure, mute, etc., has the same elements, 
but not with the same distinctness of utterance ; the initial 
position of the organs is not held long enough to give a clear- 
ly characterized sound. In this respect it resembles the Eng- 
lish diphthongs / and ou / and hence, like these, it has often 
been regarded as a simple sound. Wallis speaks of it as 
such, in distinction from the Welsh uw ; and when he identi- 
fies it with French u, he gives prominence to this fact, that 
both are simple vowels. 

We believe, then, that English u had in Salesbury's time — 
that is, in the first half of the sixteenth century — substantially 
the same pronunciation as at present. In the loose identifi- 
cations with French u, made by some writers, we find no suf- 
ficient proof of the contrary ; the last and most distinct, by 
Wallis, is refuted by the nearly contemporaneous state- 
ments ofWilkins. In tracing back the pronunciation of the 
letter from the nineteenth century to the sixteenth, there is a 
presumption in favor of the present sound, unless pretty 
strong evidence can be found for a different one. We do find 
in our authorities some evidence of this kind ; but it is liable 
to grave suspicions, and is more than balanced by positive 


indications of the present sound. Perhaps we have dwelt 
longer than we ought both on this point and on the sixteenth- 
century pronunciation of a. But they seemed to be among 
the most interesting questions raised by our author in his en- 
deavor to determine the actual living utterance of Henry 
VIII. and Elizabeth ; and they are well fitted to illustrate the 
amount and character of the evidence on which he relies in 
the discussion of these questions. We have only to add that 
the testimonies which we have brought forward in opposition 
to his views have all been derived from his own pages, where 
they stand fairly presented and candidly considered. 

We pass on to the consonants, the treatment of which by 
our author will furnish much less occasion for remark. Of 
the weak final r, as heard in car, care, which he represents 
by (j), he finds no trace whatever in the sixteenth century. 
Even Wallis and Wilkins are silent in regard to it. But Ben 
Jonson (1640) implies its existence, when he speaks of the 
letter as sounded in two ways, " firme in the beginning 
of the words, and more liquid in the middle and ends." As 
to its present weakness, the language of Mr. Ellis is very em- 
phatic ; he represents it as little more than a vanishing quan- 
;^ty, and indeed, as having vanished to a great extent from 
English pronunciation. He says: "This second (j) may 
diphthongize with any preceding vowel. After (a, A, o), the 
effect is rather to lengthen the preceding vowel than to pro- 
duce a distinct diphthong. Thus, farther and lord scarcely 
differ from father, laud : that is, the diphthongs (aj, dj) are 
heard almost as the long vowels (aa, AA). That a distinction 
is made by many, by more perhaps than are aware of it, is 
certain ; but it is also certain that in the mouths of by far the 
greater number of speakers in the south of England the ab- 
sorption of the (a) is as complete as the absorption of the (1) 
in talk, walk, psalm, where it has also left its mark on the 
preceding vowel. When Dickens wrote Count Smorl Tork, 
he meant Small Talk, and 710 ordinary reader would distin- 
guish between thon." And again : " The diphthongs (ej, 9j) 
are very difficult to separate from each other and from (as). 
But the slight raising of the point of the tongue will distin- 
guish the diphthongs from the vowel in the mouth of the 


careful speaker, that is, one who trains his organs to do so. 
No doubt the great majority of speakers do not make any dif- ■ 
ference." • It is fortunate for this much-abused letter that so 
large a part of the English-speaking world is found in America, 
where the first English settlers^brought this r in a less attenu- 
ated state, and "where their descendants have been largely 
reinforced by users of a yet stronger r from Ireland and Scot- 
land and the continent of Europe. Instead of losing the final 
r, like our brethren in Southern England, we are more likely 
to restore it to its ancient equivalency with the initial letter. 
As to the combination wr — in write, wreck, wrath, etc. — 
it appears from the testimony of Hart that the zv was not en- 
tirely lost in the sixteenth century. It is Mr. Ellis's opinion 
that wr was sounded, not only then, but from the earliest 
Anglo-Saxon times, as (rw), or more exactly as (rze/), a labial- 
ized r, the product of an effort to pronounce ;' and w at one 
and the same time. The French roi he represents by [xwz) ; 
and he holds that wrath, wreck, write were pronounced 
(rzfath, rte/ek, rweit). This seems to us improbable for Old- 
English, and still more for Anglo-Saxon. If zurath had been 
pronounced thus, it would almost certainly have been written 
rwath. To English ears the French roi appears to begi]|^ 
with the sound of r followed by that of zv • it is safe to say 
that not one man in a hundred would think of it as beginning 
with a w followed by an r. Even the words zuhat, zohen, 
white, etc., were by the Anglo-Saxons originally and gener- 
ally written with hzv, not wh. Would they not have followed 
the same analogy by writing no instead of wr, if the sound 
had been what our author supposes ? The copyists were ac- 
customed to spell very much according to their own ear and 
taste ; would they not, sometimes at least, have used the 
order rw ? If hw has been changed to wJi, it was probably 
not from any doubt as to the real order of the elements, but 
from the influence of the combinations ph, cli, th, rh, con- 
stantly presented in Latin orthography. There could be no 
such reason for adopting wr in preference to the seemingly 
more natural order rzu. And if we look at other Teu- 
tonic languages, we find everywhere the same succession. 
Thus wrath appears in the Old Icelandic as vreidhi, in 


Swedish and Danish as vrcde / wrong in Icelandic is vrangr, 
Danish vratig, Swedish vrang. For xvring the Gothic has 
vriggan / for wreak it has vrikan, vrakjan • for write it has 
vrits (Gr. Kepaia, ' point of a letter'). In view of these con- 
siderations, who can doubt that the Anglo-Saxon writing zcr 
represents the real order of the sounds, or what would ap- 
pear such to hearers generally ? If so, then (rzc') cannot have 
been the Anglo-Saxon pronunciation ; nor is there any 
reason for supposing that the Old-English pronunciation dif- 
fered in this case from the Anglo-Saxon. The only argu- 
ment we can see for Mr. Ellis's (rw) is the difficulty of mak- 
ing a true English w audible before r at the beginning of a 
word. We do not deny the difficulty ; nor do we undertake 
to determine the precise sound of zcr y but we could easily 
believe that zc may have had in this case a somewhat stronger 
sound than we are wont to give it — a sound perhaps ap- 
proaching to the South German w (a. v pronounced without 
pressure of the teeth against the lips), which Mr. Ellis (p. 
290) finds on British ground in the Aberdeen pronunciation 
of zc rite as (bhriit). 

In this connection we have to confess some feeling of 
doubt, if not of skepticism, as to our author's whole theory 
of labialized consonants. He finds in French /oi (Iwa.) a 
labialized /, which he thinks existed once in English — ta/k 
being once sounded (talzck) — " but it has died out : " yet 
why not recognize it in always ? So he finds a labialized k 
in qtiell (kzc-el), a labialized / in twin, a labialized d in dzvell, 
etc. Here the qu, tw, dw are in his view simple consonants, 
a k, t, d, pronounced in a labial position. To us they still 
appear as composite sounds. Compare high dwell the birds 
with hide well the birds : in continuous utterance are they 
not perfectly alike ? What Mr. Ellis say^of /zi//« and dweH, 
.*' that the opening of the lips [from the rounded closure re- 
quired for a w'\ is really simultaneous with the release of the 
(t, d) contact," we are unable to reconcile with the testimony 
of the ear as to our own pronunciation and that which we 
hear around us. 

The wretched weakness of utterance which has changred 
know to no (converting science into mere negation) was, ac- 


cording to all the authorities, still un/^nown, or at least not 
prevalent, in the sixteenth century; nor did it become uni- 
versal before the close of the seventeenth. So too it appears 
that the gh in lights weigh, boiigJi, etc., was heard, though 
probably with only a feeble utterance, in the sixteenth centu- 
ry. As to the precise sound, there is an uncertainty ; per- 
haps, as in Scotland now, it may have had both sounds of tjje 
German cJi. It hardly survived the middle of the seventeenth 
century. In most words it simply dropped away without any 
further change ; but a preceding short i became long, as in 
light, night, etc. In some cases, however, it was replaced by 
another spirant sound, an/, as in laugh, cough, rough, and 
in the vulgarisms oft, thoft, for ought, thought. In sigh, 
height, drought, it was replaced, at least in occasional use, by 
the spirant th : the pronunciations sith, Jicith, drouth are 
mentioned by orthoepists at the beginning of the last centu- 
ry ; and drouth is still heard in our country, and has even been 
adopted in an American Dictionary of the English language. 
The suppression of the //, like that of the weak r, would 
perhaps have become an accomplished fact if our language 
had been wholly dependent on the people of Southern Eng- 
land. On this subject our author remarks : — 

" In England the use of the h (h) among the illiterate seems to de- 
pend upon emphatic utterance. Many persons when speaking quietly 
will never introduce the (h), but when rendered nervous or excited, or 
when desiring to speak particularly well, they abound in strong and un- 
usual aspirations. It is also singular how difficult it is for those' accus- 
tomed to omit the h, to recover it, and how provokingly they sacrifice 
themselves on the most undesired occasions by this social shibboleth. 
In endeavoring to pronounce the fatal letter, they generally give them- 
selves great trouble, and consequently produce a harshness quite un- 
known to those who pronounce (h) naturally. An English author, S. 
Hirst, writing an English Grammar in German, in which fifty quarto 
pages are devoted to a minute account of the pronunciation of English, 
actually bestows one hundred and sixty-seven quarto lines of German, 
measuring about ninety feet, upon attempting to show that formerly h 
was not pronounced in English, and that it was altogether an orthoepistic 
fancy to pronounce it, saying that almost all non-linguists would admit 
that h was generally mute, or at most scarcely audible, and that linguists 
who denied this in theory gave into the practice. The division of the 
people is not exactly into linguists and non-linguists, but it must be 


oviTied that very large masses of the people, even of those tolerably ed- 
ucated and dressed in silk and broadcloth, agree with the French, 
Italians, Spaniards, and Greeks, in not pronouncing the letter H." 

The sounds of sh in such words as sure, pressure, mission, 
special, motion, and zh in such as measure, vision, excision, 
are unrecognized by the-orthoepists of the sixteenth century, 
and are not mentioned before the middle of the seventeenth. 
Yet traces of these changes are pointed out in Shakespeare 
and Rowley. Nor can it be doubted that, of the other 
changes ascribed to the seventeenth century, quite a number 
were already in progress during the sixteenth. Thus, if Hart 
had not written, there would have been no evidence that the 
pronunciation of ai as a simple vowel (ee) was known to the 
sixteenth century : all other orthoepists of that age make it a 
true diphthong; but Hart in 1569 gives it uniformly the 
sound of (ee). Mr. Ellis regards the fifteenth and seven- 
teenth centuries as the grand periods of disturbance and revo- 
lution in the history of our language ; he thinks, with much 
reason, that they owed this character to the<ipolitical agitations, 
the great civil contests, by which they were shaken. The 
intermediate century, the sixteenth, he looks upon as a period 
of comparative stability and repose, both in politics and in 
pronunciation. Perhaps this is the true conception. Yet to 
our mind the facts reported in this book suggest rather the 
view that a great revolution in English pronunciation was 
going forward from the opening of the fifteenth to the close 
of the seventeenth century, and that it moved on with unin- 
terrupted and almost unremitted progress from the beginning 
to the end of its course. 

In the fourth chapter, which concludes this first part, Mr. 
Ellis deals with the pronunciation of English during the four- 
teenth century. Here he finds his principal means of investi- 
gation in the poetry, and especially in the rhymes, of Chaucer 
and Gower. He foresees that his procedure will be objected 
to, on the ground that imperfect rhymes, which often occur in 
modern verse, are likely to have been yet more common in 
that earlier and ruder age. But he denies the force of the ob- 
jection, contending that the probabilities of the case point the 
other way. A rhyme which is good to the eye, but not to 


the ear, may be tolerated by reading men ; to men who do 
not read — and such to a great extent were the pubHc of 
Chaucer and Gower — it is no rhyme at all. Appealing main- 
ly to the ear, these poets were actually less likely than later 
rhymers to satisfy themselves with loose and inexact corre- 
spondences of sound. This d priori argument he fortifies 
with remarkable success by an examination of their verses, as 
represented by the best manuscripts. In Wright's edition of 
the Canterbury Tales, founded on the Harleian MS. No. 
7334, and containing 17,368 lines, he finds less than fifty 
rhymes in which the spelling indicates a difference of pronun- 
ciation. Of these few exceptions most can be removed, ^ 
either by the readings of other manuscripts, or by conjectu- 
ral changes of a simple and natural character. The 33,000 
verses of Gower's Confessio Amaiitis furnish only nine in- 
stances of faulty rhymes, and for these it is shown that the 
editor, not the author, is really responsible. The nature and 
force of the evidence derived from the rhymes of these poets 
is perhaps most st^kingly seen in the case of the long i ox y. 
These letters appear in a multitude of rhymes like the follow- 
ing : -ivyse and Jiistise, wj'ite and inerite, vice and office, wyn 
and f amy 11, side and Cupide, lyke and retor'ike, while and 
Virgile, Bible and possible, fynde and Inde, I and enemy, 
therby and mercy, sky and tritely, zvhy and almighty, by and 
lady, etc. Of the second words in these pairs, the last three, 
tritely, almighty, and lady, come to us from the Anglo-Saxon. 
They still have in the last syllable the same vowel sound, or * 
nearly the same, as in that language. It is not to be sup- 
posed that in the fourteenth century they should have taken 
up a sound like our diphthongal i long, only to lose it again 
by the sixteenth. Still less can we suppose this in reference 
tojustise, merite, office, f amy 71, Cupide, retorike, Virgile, pos- 
sible, Inde, enemy, mercy, which in Chaucer's time had just 
come in from the French, retaining still their native French 
accent, and could scarcely have undergone a change of vowel 
sound so sudden and extreme. But these violent supposi- 
tions are only to be avoided by admitting that the first words 
in the several rhyming pairs — ivyse, ivrite, vice, wyn, side, 
lyke, while, Bible, fynde, sky, luhy, I, by, and therby — still 


retained in the fourteenth century their primitive sound of i 
as (ii) or iii). By similar evidence — less abundant, indeed, yet 
sufficiently decisive— it is shown that Chaucer's on or ow, in 
hous, how, dowte^ aboute, powre, dotin, broun, founde, etc., 
had not yet acquired the diphthongal sound which it bore in 
the sixteenth century, but was generally pronounced as a sim- 
ple (uu) ; only where the ou or ow corresponded to an Anglo- 
Saxon oiu, aw, did it have a diphthongal pronunciation, as 
(ooui. And in like manner it is proved that a, e, o had the 
same sounds as are generally given to those vowels in the 
languages of continental Europe. 

But the most important, and at the same time the most dif- 
ficult point in the language of Chaucer and Gower is the pro- 
nunciation of the final unaccented e. Mr. Ellis has greatly 
enriched his work by taking- into it, in a condensed form, the 
masterly researches on this subject by Professor Child of Har- 
vard University, which were published in the Memoirs of the 
American Academy, Vol. IX. Profess9r Child has proved 
that the unaccented final e was generally sounded in the 
poetry of Chaucer and Gower ; but also that it was frequently 
silent. • Of these exceptional cases, he is able to refer much 
the greater part to certain general principles or habits ; but 
others seem to depend on the mere caprice of the author, and 
serve to indicate a varying usage and a progressive tendency 
to suppress the letter. The parallel furnished in German 
poetry by the frequent and capricious omission of the final 
e is noticed by Professor Child ; though here the influences 
of education and literature will doubtless save the letter from 
total extinction, while the sensible habit of leaving it unwrit- 
ten where it is unpronounced will save much time and toil to 
the philologists of the future. 

Mr. Ellis proposes a uniform orthography for Chaucer, 
which he would wish to apply also to other writers of the 
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It is founded on the ortho- 
graphy of the Harleian MS., already referred to ; the usual 
modes of spelling in that MS., the representations usually 
given by it to the different sounds of the language as it then 
was, are to be made universal, the occasional exceptions being 
altered into conformity with the general rule. It is Ihe spelling 


which the copyist of that MS. would presumably have used if 
he had been intent on a uniform orthography. A text of the 
fourteenth or fifteenth century, printed according to this sys- 
tem, could be read without difhculty, and by a little practice 
even fluently, with a pronunciation not widely different from 
that of its own time. It seems to us desirable that some such 
texts should be prepared and printed for school use. If a 
historical study of the English language and literature is to be 
made common in our educational institutions, it is important 
to lessen, in some degree at least, the difficulties arising from 
the endless and needless variations of Old-English spelling. 
It would be possible, and perhaps expedient, in such books, 
to give in the margin the actual spelling of one or two good 
manuscripts, in the most important cases where it differed 
from that used in the text. At the same time we think that, 
if Chaucer is really to be popularized, it can only be done by 
modernizing his orthography. The words which belong to 
the modern language must appear in the spelling with which 
all are familiar. But it is not less necessary that the text 
should be so given that it can be read rhythmically. An un- 
certain and halting rhythm, which fails to fulfil its own pro- 
mises, and is continually leaving the reader in the lurch, is be- 
yond measure disagreeable, and even painful, to a rhythmic 
ear ;; plain prose is infinitely better than such a rhythm. To 
cure this defect, the unaccented> must be supplied just as far 
as is requisite to give each verse a proper rhythmic succession 
of syllables and accents. We venture to add the opening 
lines of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, as a specimen 
of the arrangement which we have in mind. Where the ac- 
cent of a word varies from that now usual, it is marked in the 
text by an acute over the vowel of the accented syllable. A 
double dot over an e which is ncfw silent shows that it is to 
be pronounced, and to make a separate syllable, in reading. 
A small circle over an e which is now heard shows that it is 
to be suppressed, or at least that it does not count as a sylla- 
ble in the verse. The double dot and the circle may also be 
used for like purposes over other vowels. Where an e which 
is not written even now has to be supplied in reading, it is 
represented by a reversed apostrophe, as [']. 


" When that April' with his shower's sweet 

The drought of March hath pierc6d to the root, 

And bathed every vein in such Hquor, 

Of which virtCie engendered is the flower ; — 

When Zephirus eke with his sweet' breath 

Inspired hath in ever>- holt and heath 

The tender crop's, and the young' sun 

Hath in the Ram his half course y-run, 

And smair fowl's make melody, 

That sleep' all the night with open eye, 

So pricketh them nature in their 'corSges : — 

Then long' folk to go on pilgrimages, 

And palmers for to seek' strangg strands 

To '' fem6 " halwes, ^ kouthe in sundry lands ; 

And specially, from every shire's end 

Of Eng'land, to Canterbury they wend, 

The holy blissful martyr for to seek. 

That themi hath holpen when that they were sick." 

'hearts. distant. 'saints. known. 

In such a text we should have a genuine Chaucer, the ipsa 
verba, if not the ipsissivia, of the poet himself. But it would 
be free from the worst of those stumbling-blocks which now 
vex and baffle the ordinary reader. The general aspect of 
the words would be familiar to his eye ; the sense would be 
almost or qt#te as easy to comprehend as that of Shakespeare ; 
and the lines would yield without pains and puzzling a rhythm 
fairly satisfactory to the ear. In thus giving to Chaucer a 
modernized orthography, we should only be treating him as 
we do Shakespeare ; no editor thinks of reproducing the 
spelling of the old folios. If Shakespeare were accessible 
only in that antiquated orthography, it is certain that the 
number of his readers and the extent of his influence would 
be seriously diminished. 

Since the foregoing paragraphs were written, we have re- 
ceived " Part II." of the work under review. This, however, 
does not finish the book. " On account of the unexpected 
length " of the author's " investigations, the Societies for 
which they are published have found it most convenient to 
divide them ' four parts, instead of iu/o, as previously con- 
templated." This second part contains a little more than two 


hundred pages, of which about two thirds are occupied with the 
pronunciation of EngHsh prior to the fourteenth century, as 
well as that of the Anglo-Saxon, Old Icelandic, and Gothic ; 
while the remainder treats of the correspondence of orthogra- 
phy with pronunciation from Anglo-Saxon times to the present 
day. A hasty glance has shown us that it is rich in curious and 
instructive m.atter ; 'but we cannot yet undertake to criticise, or 
even to describe, its contents. We will speak of only one 
point which has chanced to attract our attention while turn- 
ing over its pages. In representing, as he does by palaeo- 
type, the original pronunciation of various specimen-texts of 
early English, it seems to us that Mr. Ellis has hardly been 
as careful and exact as could have been desired in reference 
to vowel quantities. That he has been satisfied with treating 
this matter somewhat easily may be inferred from the fact 
that he occasionally varies from himself in the course of one 
or two pages. Thus ase, ' as,' in selections from Dan Michel, 
is given (aase) on page 412, but (ase) on page 413. In an 
extract from Richard de Hampole, on page 414, the adverb 
Aere is given both as (Heer) and (Her). In a paternoster, on 
page 442, we find in forms of the verb do both (don) and 
(miisdoon), where, too, one is surprised to see a long quantity 
in the prefix jhis / compare also (doon) on the<jiext page. 
In an ave and credo, on page 443, lauird, 'lord,' is repre- 
sented by (laavird), but lauerd, a variation of the same 
word, by (laverd). On the same page, the adjective ded^ 
' dead,' appears both as (ded) and as (deed) ; and the im- 
perative of the verb forgive appears as (forgiiv), but the 
indicative as (forgiveth). In this last case, if any distinction 
was to be made, we might have expected (forgiv) and (for- 
giiveth) ; authority for this could be produced from the 
Ormulum. In the proclamation of Henry III. (1258), the 
ending -liche, the modern -ly, appears as (-liitshe) on page 
501, but as (-litshe) on page 503. 

The English language has sometimes been spoken of as- 
having wholly lost the distinctions of vowel quantity which 
belonged to the Anglo-Saxon ; as if it stood related to the 
mother language in this respect as the French is related to 
the Latin, or the modern to the ancient Greek, It is true 


that, in comparing Anglo-Saxon with English, we find exten- 
sive changes of vowel quantity. Long vowels, where they 
follow the accented ' syllable, have been shortened almost 
uniformly. Thus the Anglo-Saxon -lice, early English -liche 
(-liitshe), has become /j' in adjectives and adverbs of modern 
English. But in accented syllables, if we mistake not, a 
careful comparison will show that the vowel quantity of the 
Anglo-Saxon has been preser\'ed in a majority of the words 
which have come to us from that source. And most of the 
changes, whether from long to short or from short to long, 
can be referred to a small number of euphonic principles or 
tendencies.* The effect of a weak r (before a consonant or at 
the end of a word) to lengthen the vowel before it, as in far^ 
aware, horse, etc., is one of the most important cases. The 
similar lengthening before Id and nd, as in child, find, etc. , 
is as old as the thirteenth century, being the general rule in 
the Ormulum ; and it is a fair question whether £-///7^ and a/Z/iof 
on page 483, and hiindes, ' hounds,' on page 479, should not 
have been given with a long vowel. Still more numerous 
changes have been occasioned by the tendency to lengthen 
the short vowel of an accented penult when separated by only 
one consonant sound from- the following unaccented vowel. 
The long sounds in water, naked, evil, open, etc., owe their 
origin to this tendency ; and so do those in name, make, law, 
eat, hope, and a multitude of others, which originally ended 
in an unaccented syllable. Now this tendency also is found 
in the Ormulum, which carries it to a greater extent even than 
modern English : thus, narrow, heavy, body, love, give, writ- 
ten, smmner, etc., are found in the Ormulum with a long 
vowel in the first of their two syllables. In suqh cases as 
these, the modern English agrees with the Anglo-Saxon in 
using a short vowel ; a fact which shows that the long vowel 
could not have been universal in the thirteenth century, the 
time of the Ormulum. We think that Mr. EUis, who writes 
a long vowel in some of these words — such as give, written, 
summer — in other works of that century, would have done 
better to give them short, as in Anglo-Saxon and mod- 
ern English. Still less can we approve of his writing in 
* See the next following article. 


cases where it is at variance with the Anglo-Saxon, the 
Ormulum, and the modern EngHsh, together : as in (wen) for 
wen (page 412), A. S. wen, Orm. wenenn, 'to zveen;^ 
(leev) for leve (page 414), A. S. lifian, Orm, libbenn, ' to 
live ; ' (gret) for £-reU (page 479), A. S. great, Orm. gr(Zt, 
' great.' It is not unhkely, however, that some of these 
cases are mere errors of the press. 

We hope that Mr. ElHs, in the parts yet to appear, may 
regard this matter of vowel quantity as worthy of a closer at- 
tention than he seems thus far to have given it ; and may 
thus add to the completeness and exactness of his admirable 




IT is a well-known fact that the Modern Greek has lost the 
system of vowel quantity which belonged to the ancient lan- 
guage : Ko^irj, ' hair,' and Kcofirj, ' village,' are pronounced 
alike by the Modern Greek ; nor is it otherwise with Xvaea, 
' thou wilt loose,' and XCo-t?, ' a loosing.' In like manner, the 
Romanic languages have lost the system of vowel quantity 
which belonged to the ancient Latin. Thus the Italian and 
Spanish mano, rosa, French main, rose, are alike in Vowel 
sound with Italian and Spanish vano, prosa, French vain, 
prose, though the former come from Latin manns, rosa, and 
the latter from vantis, prosa.^ It is an interesting question 
whether our own language has had in this respect the same 
experience as the Modern Greek and the Romanic tongues ; 
whether we have wholly lost those distinctions of vowel quan- 
tity which undoubtedly belonged to the Anglo-Saxon. 

It is sometimes said that we have no proper distinction of 
long and short quantity in English : all our vowels are alike in 
quantity ; they are all equally susceptible of prolongation and 
abridgment ; or rather, any vowel may be so prolonged as to 
exceed the ordinary quantity of any other : thus,y?// may be 
so prolonged in utterance as to take more time than is ordina- 
rily given to feel or file. But this must have been the case 
also with Greek and Latin vowels : their absolute time was 
not fixed, but variable. One speaker must have talked faster 
or slower than another ; the same speaker must have talked 
faster or slower at one time than at another ; even on the same 
occasion one sentence or clause must hav^e been uttered faster 
or slower than another : and thus it could hardly fail to hap- 
pen that a short vowel would sometimes have a longer sound 


than the ordinary or average quantity of a long vowel. But 
the average quantity of a short vowel was less than the 
average for a long one ; or, with the same general rapidity of 
utterance, the quantity of long vowels exceeded the quantity 
of short. I say simply, the quantity of long vowels exceeded, 
was greater than, the quantity of short ; not that the former 
was just double the latter. It may be presumed that in ordi- 
nary spoken utterance there was not any so exact relation ; 
with the same tempo, the long might equal i^ of the short, 
or 1 5^ of the short, or i^ of the short, as well as just 2 ; and 
probably the average actual ratio was rather less than 2 to i ; 
the average long would occupy rather less than twice the time 
of the average short. The fixing of 2 to i as the precise nu- 
merical relation was probably the work of rhythmopoeia, or 
of rhythmopoeia and melopoeia together. When longs and 
shorts were combined in rhythmic composition, and especially 
when a musical accompaniment was added, the longs and 
shorts must have a definite and fixed ratio to each other ; and 
the ratio of two to one was the most simple, obvious and 

Now as regards our English syllables, it is certain that we 
have nearly or quite lost the feeling of length by position. 
By this I mean that we do not recognize a short vowel fol- 
lowed by two consonants as having any distinct relation to a 
long vowel followed by one consonant. We can perceive, of 
course, that there is more sound in fist than in fit, and more 
sound in fight than in fit ; but we do not recognize any 
special relation of quantity between^'.?/ zx\^ fight. But in re- 
ference to vowel sounds, it should seem that our case is not 
essentially different from that of the ancient Greeks and 
Romans. There are certain sounds which, with the same 
tempo, the same general rapidity of utterance, we recognize 
as occupying more time than others ; we thus recognize the 
former as long, the latter as short. It is true, the English 
short vowels differ somewhat in quality of sound — that is, in 
position of the speech organs — from the long vowels which 
most nearly resemble them, the short being a little more open 
than the corresponding long : there is a more open sound in 
fill than mfieel, \nfull than in fiool, in fell than in fiail, etc. 


But this does not affect the relation of quantity. It is clear 
that we have long vowel sounds in file and foul, in feel and 
fool, in/<a//and foal, and in fall ; and that w^e have short 
vowel sounds in fill zn6. full , mfell, in doll, in dally, in dull. 
Pronounce the two series in succession : on the one \\3.\\d, file, 
foul, feel, fool, fail, foal, fall • on the other, fill, full, fell, 
doll, dally, dull—the difference of quantity is manifest and 

If then we have long and short vowels clearly distinguished 
from each other, it becomes a matter of interest to inquire 
whether the distinction is recent or ancient ; whether, and how 
far, the vowels now sounded long or sounded short were 
sounded long or short respectively in early periods of the 
language. The question here raised is not whether our vowels 
have kept the same sounds, but whether they have kept the 
same quantities. It matters not that long a has passed from its 
original sound {of all) to that heard \wfame; long e, from the 
sound in prey to that in key ; long /, from the sound in pique 
to that in pike ; long 0, from the sound in bone to that in 
hoo7i ; long w, from the sound in prude to that in proud. 
These changes have taken place to a very great extent, but 
they do not affect the question now before us : the old long 
vowel remains long still. So if the short vowels i, ii, e (in 
fill, full, fell) have become a little more open ; if, on the 
other hand, a has generally become closer (as in dally), ap- 
proaching the sound of e (in dell) ; if the old 6 has disap- 
peared altogether, passing into a sound more open than that of 
a mfall, and often described as its corresponding short (thus 
fall, folly) ; if H,, and sometimes other short vowels, have 
sunk into the obscure and undistinguished sound heard in 
dull, done — these changes do not concern us here, as the old 
short vowel still remains short. 

In the inquiry whether, and how far, we can trace back the 
present long and short quantities of English vowels, we find 
our best guide and help in a single (and singular) production 
of early English literature. I refer to the Ormulum, so called 
from the name of its author, the monk Orm, or Ormin, who 
wrote in the eastern part of England, some time in the thir- 
teenth century, or fully six hundred years ago. A series of 


metrical homilies on the successive daily lessons of the church 
service, its interest is philological much more than literary. 
In the only manuscript from which it is known to us — not 
improbably the only manuscript of it that was ever written 
— we find ofi the part of the writer a careful and systematic 
regard to vowel quantity. He has a spelling of his own, to 
which he adheres with much consistency ; and in this spelling 
the most peculiar and conspicuous feature is the doubling of 
every consonant which follows a short vowel. There was a 
tendency to this in the general English orthography even at 
that early period ; what is remarkable in this author is that 
he consciously carried out this tendency as a uniform and uni- 
versal rule. Thus he writes it with a double /, if with, a 
double/, hundred with a double n and a double d, lasteth 
with a double s and a double sign for tJi. So much is he at- 
tached to this spelling, in spite of its strange and whimsical 
appearance, that in a preliminary address (seemingly very 
little needed) to the future copyist he insists upon a careful 
conformity to it : — 

Annd tatt he lake ivel tatt he 

An bocstaff' write twines s, 
Eiiwhcer ihcer itt uppo thiss boc 

Iss writenn o thatt wise. 
Lake he well thatt het write swa, 

Forr he ne man nohht elless 
Onn Ennglissh writenn rihht te word 

Thatt wite he wel to sothe. 

Which may be modernized thus, in the same measure, all but 
the unaccented ending of the even lines : — 

And that he look [full] well that he 

A letter write twice [over], 
Wherever it upon this book 

Is written on that wise. 
Look he well that he write it so 

For he (ne) may not else 
In English write aright the word, 

That wit he well to sooth. 

Thus then the spelling of the Ormulum enables us to say, 
in the case of every vowel followed by a consonant in the 


same word, whether the author pronounced it — or, at least, 
supposed that he pronounced it — long or short. In ordef' 
now to arrive at some general conclusions as to the persis- 
tence of v^owel quantity in English, I have looked through the 
vocabulary of the Ormulum, as presented with much fulness 
and clearness in the second volume of White's edition (Oxford, 
1852), and have noted the words which survive in the English 
of to-day, including some few which, though lost out of the 
common language, are still generally known from their use in 
literary works of the modern period. I propose to state the 
general results of this comparison between the quantities of 
words as indicated in the Ormulum, and the quantities of the 
same words as heard in modern English. It should be said 
that the vocabulary of the Ormulum is not large. The work 
is nearly as long as the Odyssey ; but the number of different 
words used in it is much smaller than in the Greek poem. 
There is a great sameness, a wearisome sameness, in the 
contents of the book : the leading facts, principles, and pre- 
cepts of the Christian system are repeated over and over 
again with little variety of expression. Still there are words 
enough to give a fair i^lea of the relation between the vowel 
quantities of Saxon English six hundred years ago and those 
of Saxon English at the present time. I say " Saxon Eng- 
lish," because few Latin words (aside from those already 
taken into the Anglo-Saxon), and fewer French words, are to 
be found in the Ormulum. Its language is as purely Teu- 
tonic as the modern German. 

The most general statement suggested by the extended 
comparison of which I have been speaking is this : that in the 
great majority of cases the vowris which had a long sound six 
hundred years ago are long now ; those which had a short 
sound then are short now And if the exceptions are pretty 
numerous — if in a good many cases the long sound of the 
Ormulum corresponds to a modern short, or the short sound 
of the Ormulum to a modern long — most of these exceptional 
cases depend on a few obvious conditions, on clearly marked 
euphonic influences and tendencies, so that cases of capri- 
cious variation, of variation without apparent principle, are 
comparatively few. It will probably be most instructive, if 


we consider first (and indeed, chiefly) these euphonic condi- 
tions and tendencies which have led to differences of quantity 
between the language of six hundred years ago and that of 

In the first place, then, let us look at the cases where the 
loss of a consonant sound has occasioned the lengthening of a 
short vowel before it : as in alms, O. allmess ; buy, O. biggenn, 
and the like. Such changes can hardly be considered as vio- 
lations of the old system of quantities. If there is here an 
alteration, an increase, of vowel quantity, it only takes the 
place of a consonant quantity withdrawn. It is simply that 
the time before occupied by a vowel and consonant is now 
occupied by the vowel prolonged. This is sometimes de- 
scribed as an absorption of the consonant by the vowel, 
sometimes as a vocalization of the consonant. Neither of 
these expressions gives a distinct idea of the nature of the 
change. Of course, in every instance of the kind there must 
have been a time of transition, when the consonant was be- 
ginning to be omitted, when the very speakers who omitted 
it were perfectly aware of its existence, and perhaps generally 
pronounced it, but occasionally let it drop, with a lengthening 
of the preceding vowel. Now this consciousness of a conso- 
nant with a claim to be pronounced is an important element 
in the phenomenon. The speaker who does not really pro- 
nounce it does not feel that he can omit it altogether ; he 
does not feel that he is altogether omitting it. To his own 
feeling, he gives it a kind of recognition. He perhaps brings 
the organs of speech into some sort of approach toward the 
position required for pronouncing the consonant, so that the 
preceding vowel passes into g sound more or less modified, 
which does duty for the consonant. If this modification con- 
tinues to be made, then the resulting long vowel-sound will 
not be a mere simple prolongation of the preceding short, but 
something different, perhaps a diphthong. Yet it may very 
well happen that, in this <7?/rt'.y/-pronunciation of the consonant, 
the approach made by the organs to the position for that con- 
sonant will grow more and more slight, and the sound pro- 
duced will differ less and less from a mere continuation of the 
preceding vowel; until* finally — and perhaps very soon — it 


comes to be just that and nothing else, and the consonant is 
replaced, as its claim for utterance is felt to be satisfied, by a 
simple addition of quantity to the preceding vowel. But, 
wMatever may be thought as to the rationale of the process, 
it is one of which we find numerous instances in comparing 
the Semi-Saxon of the Ormulum with modern English. Thus 
where /, followed by another consonant, has been suppressed 
in utterance, though still retained in writing, the short vowel 
before it has become long in — 

O. allmess (alms), A. S. dlmesse, Lat. eleemosyna. 
calif {calf), A. S. cealf. 
folic {folk, people), A. S.folc. 
half {half, behalf), A. S. healf 
ilk {each, every, Sc. ilk), A. S. ale, elc,ylc. 
sallfe {salve, ointment), A. S. sealf. 
sallme {psalm), A. S. sealm, Lat psalmus. 

In should (O. shollde), would (O. wollde and wolde), we 
have a short vowel sound ; but we may see from the on that 
the vowel was first lengthened {sJioiid, ufoiid, with on as in 
youth) ; though afterward it became short again, by a new 
and independent change, similar to that by which good and 
stood have received their present short pronunciation. The 
same change has occurred also in could, which never had an 
/ actually sounded. The Ormulum, like the Anglo-Saxon, 
"has cuthe, in which the th became d, and the vowel was after- 
ward shortened. As people were accustomed to write a 
silent / in should, would, and regarded could as a word of 
similar character, they put a silent / into that also. There 
would have been more propriety in the insertion of a silent n • 
for this letter belongs to the root as seen in cati. It is a fea- 
ture of the Anglo-Saxon in its earliest known form that it 
drops ;/ before /// or s, and lengthens the preceding vowel : as 
gos {goose) for gans, sodh {sooth) for santh (which means 
' being, existing,' and is identical with Lat. -sens, in praesens, 
-sentis) ; and so cudhe for cunt he {could). 

Again, where ^ has been suppressed in utterance, the short 
vowel before it has become long in — 

O. biggenn (to buy), abiggenn (to aby, pay.for), A. S. bycgan, dbycgaru 
leggenn (to lay), A. S. lecgan. 
seggenn (to say), A. S. secgaiu 


But in most cases of this kind the g appears in the Ormulum 

softened into the consonant j/-sound (5), which after the short 

vowel is written double (55) : thus — 

O. dan {day), pi. daihess, da^ess, A. S. da£-, pi. dagas. 

driiie {dry), A. S. dryge. 

eiilenn (to ail), A. S. eglan. 

e^therr {either), A. S. cegdher. 

Jaiierr {fair), A. S.fdger. 

fleiil {flail), GerYa.flegel, \.z.\.. flagellum. 

geiinenn (to gain), gaihenn {gaiti), O. N. gagn (advantage). 

geiinlike (aptly, cf. ungainly), O. N. gegn (apt, clever), A. S. un- 

gdgne (of no effect). 
Ian {Jc-y)^ from lin (to lie), A. S. liig, from licgan. 
leii (impv. lay), le^de {laid), from leggenn, A. S. lege, lagde, from 

man (he may), A. S. m.a,g. 
man {tnay, maid), A. S. mceg (femina, virgo). 
mandenn {maiden), A. S. magden. 
nanlenn (to nail), A. S. jtdglian. 
renn {raijt), A. S. regn. 
sen (impv. say), senth {saith), sende {said), from seggenn, A. S. 

sege, segdh, sdgde, from secgan. 
inn-senless {seals), A. S. sigel, insegel. 
twen^ttn {twain), A. S. twegen. 
ttvin^ss {twice), also twi^ess, A. S. twiga {t ?). 
thrin^ss {thrice), also thri^ess, A. S. thriga {i ?). 
w«ji5« {waggon, wain), A. S. wdgn, ween, 
wene (way), aw^33, «w^33^ {away), A. S. W(?^, aweg. 

In e\\tJierr, ina\\ (maid), and perhaps in twiycss and thriness, 
a long vowel of the Anglo-Saxon is found shortened (in the 
last two, however, not uniformly) in the Ormulum. This 
shortening may perhaps be explained as the consequence of 
an effort to make the feeble i more fully audible. The vowel 
may have been passed over lightly in order that a greater 
force of utterance- might be brought to bear on the weak con- 
sonant following it, so as to give this a distinct enunciation. 
It would be perfectly natural, too, that the speakers of the 
language should become at length weary of this effort required 
for the weak consonant ; and that they should then allow the 
consonant to be replaced by a mere continuance of the pre- 
ceding vowel, which would thus recover its primitive long 


In the word master (O. mayStrc, A. S. viagestre, magstre, 
Lat. magister) we do not lengthen the vowel : here the Scot- 
tish maister shows the truer (that is, the more analogical) pro- 
nunciation. In saith and said, the lengthened vowel sound 
which once belonged to them is still indicated by the ai with 
which they are written. 

The 55 of the Ormulum is not always to be traced to an 
original g. In some instances it seems to have arisen from 
the diphthong ei in the Old Norse, the language of the so- 
called Danes who came as invaders and settlers into eastern 
England : the vocabulary of the Ormulum shows evident 
marks of a Norse influence. Thus the plural pronouns the\\ 
{they), the\\re {their), the\\in (them) are not to be explained 
from A. S. thd, thdra, tham, but from O. N. their, theirra, 
thcim / re\\sejin (to raise), not from A. S. rdsian, but from 
O. N. reisa ; he\\lenn {^o hail, salute), not from A. S. hdl, 
but from the corresponding O. N. he i II {s^inns, salvus), which, 
like E. hail, was often used in salutations. So a\\ {aye, al- 
ways, ever) is perhaps to be explained from O. N. cei, ei, ey, 
which correspond to A. S. diva ,' while Jiay^ i^^^j) may be a 
mere compound of ne and a^]. The genitive Ke]]seress, usu- 
ally Kascress, from Kasere {Caesar, Emperor), might be ac- 
counted for in the same way ; but for the 55 in be\\sannz {be- 
zants, coined in Byzantiiivt), and in the proper name E\\noc 
{Enoch), we have no explanation to offer. 

Yet again, where a consonant // has been suppressed in ut- 
terance, the short vowel before it has become long in many 
words. I say " a consonant //,"• for the Anglo-Saxon //, 
where it stands at the end of a syllable or is followed by t or 
th {dh), must be regarded as a true consonant. Thus in — 

O. bohhte (boug/ii),from biggenn (to buy), A. S. bohte, from bycgan. 
brihht {bright), A. S. beorht, byrht, bryht. 
brohhte (brought), from bringenn (to bring), A. S. brohte, from 

cnihhtess (servants, soldiers, cf. knight), A. S. cniht. 
dohhterr {daughter), A. S. dohtor. 
drohh {drew), also droh, from draihenn (to draw), A. S. drog, from 

druhhthe (drought), A. S. drugadh. 
duhhtii (virtuous, cf. doughty), A. S. dyhtig^ 


O. eJihte (eight), ehhtennde [eig/ifh), A. S. ea/ita, eahtodha, O. N. attundi. 
fchh,fe (revenue, money, ci.fee), A. ?>./coh,fe6. 
fihhtcTin [to/ight), A. S.feohtan. 
flihht {flight), A. S.flyhf. 

bi-kahht {caught), also bikcechedd {catched) ; of doubtful origin. 
lihht {light, levis), A. S. lebht {lUtt). 
lihht {light, lux), A. S. lebht {lyht). 

mahht, inihht {might), mihhte {^o. might), A. S. meaht, miht, mihte. 
nahht, nihht {night), A. S. neaht, niht. 

nohht {nought, not), A. S. ndht, ndwiht, from ne and dwiht. 
ohht {might), A. S. dht, contracted from dwiht. 
plihht (danger, state, ci. plight), A. ^. pliht. 
rihht {right), A. S. riht. 
sahh {saw), from seon,sen (to ste), A. S, seah^ from sebn ; but see 

p. 293, 
sihhthe {sight, appearance), innsihht {insight, knowledge), A. S. 

sohhte {sought), from sekenn (to seek), A. S. sohte, from secan. 
tahhte {taught), from tcechenn (to teach), A. S. tcehte, from tcecan. 
thohh {though), A. S. thedh. 
thohhte (he thought), from thennkenti (to think), A. S. thohte, from 

thtthhte (seemed, cf. methought) , from thinnkenn (to seem), A. S. 

thuhte, from thyncan. 
wehhie (weight)^ A. S. wiht, gcwiht, from wegan (to weigh), 
wihht (being, person, cf. wight), A. S. 7y////. 
wrihhte (maker, worker, cf. wright), A. S. wyrhta. 
wrohhte {wrought) , from wirrkenn (to work), A. S. worhte, wrohte, 

from wyrcan. 

In some of these words idohJiterr, drohh, lihht, lihht, 
nohht, ohht,, sohhte, tahhte, thohh) we find a shortening of 
the Anglo-Saxon long vowel, similar to that just noticed in 
e\\thcrr, vcia\\, etc., and explainable in the manner then pro- 
posed ; though the combination of consonants (///), which in 
most of them follows the vowel, may have had something to 
do with its change of quantity. 

Lastly, in a number of words which in the Ormulum have 
the consonant %u repeated, showing that the vowel before it 
was then sounded short, this consonant is lost in English (or, 
at least, has no consonant power), and the vowel sound is 
long. Such are — 

O. chewwenn (to chew), A. S. cebwan. 

clawwess (hoofs, cf. claw), A. S. eld, clawu, pL clats^-. 


O. cnewwe {knee), pi. cnewwess, ctus, A. S. cneow, cneo. 

dawwenn (to bedew), from dcew (dew), A. S. dedwian, from deaw. 
fowwerr,fowwre {Jour),fowwerrti\ (forty), A. S.febwer,febwerttg. 
strawwenn (to straw, straw), A. S. strebwian, stredwian. 
throwwinnge (three, suffering), A. S. throwuing. 
trewwess (trees), also treos, tres, sing, treo, A. S. treow, treo. 
trowwe (true), trowwenn (to trow), trowwthe (truth), A. S, trebwe, 
treowian, treowdh. 

In most of these words we see an Anglo-Saxon long vowel 
shortened before the weak zv, as we have already seen it be- 
fore h and ,. In iiowwharr {iiowhere), the shortening — which 
may be compared to that of no in English nothing — really 
takes place before li, the true order of the sounds being that 
represented in the Anglo-Saxon orthography, ndhivcer. The 
words owwtherr, nowwtherr (A. S. dwdher, ndwdher), have 
the sense of either, neither ; but these last connect themselves 
with A. S. (Bgdher. The form noivwt (cattle, Sc. nowt) is to 
be explained from O. N. Jiaiit, while English «^«/ corresponds 
to A. S. neat. In these words, where the imv precedes a 
consonant, its sound can hardly have differed very much from 
that of the vowel u. Indeed the Latin an is represented by 
aww in clawwstreviann (cloister-nian, monk) from Lat. clans- 
trnm, and in the proper name Sannt Awwstin {Saint Austin^ 
Augustine^, though the Emperor {Kaserr-ki?ig) Augustus ap- 
pears as Augusstuss. 

We have now reviewed all the cases where a consonant, 
which in the time of the Ormulum was heard after a short 
vowel, is lost in modern English ; and we have seen that in 
all but a very few {should, would, saith, said, master, them, 
not), the preceding vowel is long in our present pronuncia- 
tion : even for these few, there is evidence that the most 
have been pronounced with long vowel sound, though that in 
more recent times has become short. 

The next important point we have to consider is the effect 
of a weak r on the preceding short vowel. By weak r I mean 
to designate that peculiar sound of the letter which it has as- 
sumed in our present English, wherever it stands before a 
consonant or at the end of a word — as m far, farm, for, form., 
fur, firm. This is evidently weaker than the sound of r in 


farrow, forest, borough, merit , spirit , etc. According to Mr. 
Ellis, Ben Jonson, in his English Grammar of 1640, is the 
earliest writer who gives any sign of having recognized this 
distinction between a stronger and a weaker r in the pronun- 
ciation of our language. Perhaps the phenomenon itself, the 
weakening of r where it is final or followed by a consonant, 
may not be much older than that time. In the dialectic pro- 
nunciation of the Irish, which has in many points preserved 
the older English sounds, it has not yet established itself. 
This weak ;' is most easily produced after the neutral vowel, 
so called, which is heard as short in cub, cud, and as long in 
curb, curd.- Except after the sounds of ah and au (as in far, 
for), this ti sound is always heard before a weak r : thus it 
comes in, as a brief yet perceptible element, after the proper 
vowel in fire, flour „f ear, four, fare. When the preceding - 
vowel was a short i or e, this has been overpowered by and 
merged in the following u so>ind. Thus fir and her are not 
distinguished in pronunciation from/V/r and Hur. The short 
u itself becomes long when this consonant follows it : as we 
see in comparing burgh with burrow, where the first has a 
long sound before weak r, the second a short one before 
common r. The point with which we are now concerned is 
this, that the weak r, whether heard at the end of a word or 
before another consonant, is always preceded by a long vowel 
sound ; if the preceding vowel sound was originally short, it 
has become long. 

It is altogether improbable that in the time of the Ormulum 
r in this position had begun to assume its present weak sound ; 
but it had begun to affect the quantity of a preceding vowel. 
We find quite a number of words in which a short vowel of 
the Anglo-Saxon, standing before r in this position, had be- 
come long in the Ormulum, as in recent English : — 

O. cEvd (place, region, Sc. airt), A. S. card, 
am {earn, eagle), A. S. earn. 

bcern (children, Sc. bairns), also barrncss, A. S. beam, 
bcernenn (to burn), A. S. beornan. 
birde (lineage, cf. birth), A. S. gebyrd {birth, lineage) .' 
bord {board, table), A. S. bord. 
chert {young man, cf. churl), A. S. ceorl. 


O. corn {corn), A. S. corn, 
earless (carls), A. S. eorl. 
eorthc, crt/te (earth), A. S. eordhe. 
forth (forth), also forrth, A. S./ordh. 
kirrkc-gcerd (church-yard), A. S.geard. 
hird (company, family, cf. herd), A. S. heord. 
hirde (herd, shepherd), A. S. fiirde. 
hord (hoard), A. S. hord. 

leornenn, lernenn (to learn), but lerrnde (learned), A. S. leornian. 
skarn (scorn), O. Fr. escorne. 
stirne (stern, fierce), A. S. styrne. 
swerd (sword), A. S. sweord. 
word (word), A. S. word. 

leornenn, ^ernenn (to yearn), but lerrnde (yearned), A. S. geornian, 
from georn (desirous, O. leorne, yrne). 

It is not unlikely that some of the§e words, though length- 
ened in the Ormulum, may have retained their primitive short 
quantity in the prevailing English, until by the weakening of 
the r at a much later time they became long. It is certain 
that in most cases where an original short vowel has been 
lengthened before r, the change is not so old as the Ormulum. 
Thus in almost every instance where we have the sound of a/i 
or t?i( before a weak r, the word, if found in the Ormulum, 
shows a short vowel. Here belong — 

O. arrt (art), arrn (they are), A. S. eart, O. N. eru (sunt). 

arrctoss (north, cf. arctic), Gr. and Lat. arctos (bear, north). 

arrke (ark), A. S. earc, Lat. area. 

arrmess (arms, brachia), A. S. earm. 

barrli\ (barley), A. S. bere (Sc. bear). 

berrme (barm, leaven), A. S. beorma. 

berrne (barn), A. S. bere-drn, berern, bern. 

feorr,ferr (far), A. S.feor. 

forr (for, prep, and conj.), A. S.for. 

forrme (former), A. S. forma. 

. harrd (hard), A. S. heard. 

heorrte, herrte (heart), A. S. heorte. 

herrberr^he (lodging, cf. harbor), A. S. hereberga, 

herrcnenn (to hearken), A. S. hyrcnian. 

herrfessttid (harvest-timo), A. S. harfest. 

horrs (horse), A. S. hors. 

karrte (qart, chariot), A. S. crdt. 

marrch (month oi March), Lat. and A. S. Martins. 

marrtirrdom (martyrdom), A. S. martyrdom, Lat. martyr. 

merrke (mark), A. S. mearc. 


O. norrth {north), A. S. nordh. 

orr {or), from oththr, otherr, A. S. odher. 

patriarrke {patriarch), \^2X. patriarcha. 

scorrcnedd {scorched), O. Fr. escorcher (to excoriate). 

sharrp {sharp), A. S. scearp. 

shorrt {short), A. S. sceort. 

sperrd {closed, barred, cf. spar), unnsperrenn (to unclose), A. S. 

starrc (firm, cf. stark), A. S. stearc. 
steorrne, sterrne {star), A. S. steorra, O. N. stiarna. 
thorrness {thorns), A. S. thorn. 

thweorrt, thiverrt (with ut ; throughout, cf. thwart), A. S. thweorh. 
•warrm {warm), A. S. wearni. 
werre (worse, Sc. waur), A. S. weor (evil). 
werrpenn (to cast, cf. to warp), A. S. weorpan. 
wharrfenn (to turn, cf. wharf), A. S. hweorfan. 
^errde (rod, ci.yard), A. '^. geard (yirga). 

Somewhat less numerous are the cases in which the short 
vowel of the Ormulum corresponds to any other vowel sound 
than those oi ah and au {far and/(9r) in modern English : — 

O. barrness (children, Sc. bairns), also bcern, A. S. beam, 
to-bresstenn (to burst, Sc. brttst), A. S. berstan. 
currsenn (to curse), A. S. cursian. 
darr {dare), durrste {durst), A. S. dear, dorste. 
ferrs {verse), A. S.fers, Lat. versus. 
firrst {first), A. S.fyrst. 

firrthrenn (to assist, cf. X-O further) , A. S.fyrdherian. 
forrtherr {further), A. S.fitrdhor. 
girrdell {girdle), A. S. gyrdel. 

hirrtenn (to hurt), Dutch and M. H. Germ, hurten (to dash against). 
irre {ire), A. S. yrre. 

kirrke {church), A. S. cyrice, Gr. KvpiaKrj. 
kirrtell {kirtle), A. S. cyrtel. 
mirrthrenn (to murder), A. S. myrdhrian. 
myrrha, myrra, myrre {myrrh), Lat. myrrha. 
serrfenn (to serve), O. Fr. servir, Lat. servire. 
skerrenn (to scare), O. N. skirra (to drive away). 
thirrst {thirst), A. S. t hurst. 

thridde {third), thrittii {thirty), A. S. thridda, thrittig or fhrUig. 
turrnenn (to turn), A. S. tyrnan. 
turrtle {turtle-dove) , A. S. turtle, Lat. turtur. 
ivarr {aware), A. S. war. 

weorrc, werrc {work), wirrkenn (to work), A. S. weorc, wyrcan. 
werrse (worse), werrst (worst), wirrsenn (worsening) , A. S. wyrsa, 

wyrst, wyrsian. 
wurrm {worm), A, S. ivyrm, weorm. 


O. wurrth {worth, adj.), ivurrthshipe, wurrshipe {worship), A. S. 
weordh, weordhscipe. 
wurrthenn (to become, be, cf. woe worth the day), A. S. weordhan. 

But r is not the only consonant which has had this effect of 
lengthening the vowel before it. We find it produced also by 
/, a liquid and a lingual like the r. Before / at the end of a 
word or followed by another consonant, a vowel originally 
short has often become long. Cases of this kind, in which 
the Ormulum still retains the short vowel, are the following : — 

O. all {all), allswa, allse {also), allmasst {almost), A. S. eal, ealswd, 
allderrmann (chief, ruler, cl. alderman), A. S. ealdorman. 
allterr {altar), Lat. altare. 
built edd {brad, bread from bolted ^ovlt) , O. Fr. bulter, bluter, M. H. 

Germ, biuteln. 
fallenn {to fall, fallen), A. S.feallan,feallen. 
f allse {false), A. S.fals, Lat. falsus. 
galle {gall), A. S. gealla. 
hallp {holp), hollpenn {holpen), from hellpenn, A. S. healp, holpen, 

from helpan. 
halite {halt, lame), A. S. healt. 
pall (cloth, ci.pall), A. S. pall, pell, Lat. pallium. 
sallt {salt), A. S. sealt. 

shulldre {shoulders), A. S. sculdre, pi. oi sculdor. 
stall {stall), A. S. steal, 
walless {walls), grunndwall {ground-wall, foundation), A. S. weal. 

This lengthening of a vowel before / had already com- 
menced in the time of the Ormulum ; and indeed, in most of 
the instances found in the Ormulum, where a vowel origin- 
ally short is followed by the combination Id, the vowel ap- 
pears as long in the Ormulum itself. Thus in — 

O. aid {old), but elldre {elder, older) and allderrmann, A. S. eald,yldre. 
bald {bold), beoldenn, beldenn (to embolden), A. S. beald, bealdian, 

child {child), but chilldre {children), A. S. cild, cildru. 
faldess i^^^-^-folds) , A. S. gefeald. 
feld {feld), A. S.feld. 

gold {gold), gildene {golden), A. S. gold, gylden. 
haldenn (to hold, holden), A. S. healdan, healden. 
kald {cold), A. S. ceald. 

milde {tnild), but millce {mildness, mercy), A, S. milde, milds or 


O. saldenn (they sold), from sellenn (to sell), A. S. sealdon, from sellan. 
shildenn (to shield), K. S. scildan. 

talde (he /t'/c/), from tellenn (to /^//), A. S. tealde, from tellan. 
weldenn (to govern, cf. to wield), A. S. wealdan. 
"wilde (wild), A. S. w/A/. 
leldenn (to yield), A. 'S,. gieldmi, gyldan. 

Indeed, the Ormulum sometimes lengthens a short vowel 
before /, where the modern English has it short. Thus in 
wel, also welle {well, A. S. well and zvella, fons) ; and in tvel, 
also w^// {well, A. S. ze/^/, bene). The variation of quantity, 
which the Ormulum shows in the last of these words, is seen, 
continued to the present day, in Scottish weel, compared 
with English well. Further, before Id a short vowel is 
lengthened in the following : — 

p. cwaldenn (they quelled, killed), from cwellenn, A. S. cwealdon, from 

dwalde (he dwelt), from dwellenn, A. S. dwealde, from dwcllan (to 

hinder, delay). 
elde [old age, cf. eld), A. S. yldodld, eld. 
qferrgildedd {gilded over), A. S. ofergyldcd. 
seldenn (seldom), A. S. seldan. 

In scaldess (minstrels, scalds, from O. N. skald-r, poet), 
and heold, held (hq held, A. S. hebld), the Ormulum pre- 
serves an original long sound, which has become short in 
English. But the first of these is variously pronounced, as 
.scald?, and as scaulds. 

Before the liquid in followed by the mute b, as before the 
similar combination Id, a short vowel is sometimes length- 
ened in the Ormulum. Thus in five words, three of which 
have a long vowel in English, while two preserve the earlier 
short : — 

O. camb (comb), A. S. camb. 

climbenn (to climb), A. S. climban. 

ivambe (wofnb, belly), A. S.wamb, womb. 

dumb (dumb), A. S. dumb. 

lamb (lamb), but pi. lammbre, A. S. lamb, pi. lambru. 

In like manner, before the liquid ;/ followed by the mute d, 
a short vowel has become long in very many words. In bi- 
hinndenn {behind, A. S. behmdaii), and hmnderrling (de- 
generate, retrograde in character, A. S. hinderling), con- 
nected with E. hmder, the Ormulum still retains the short 


sound ; as it does before ;// m funnt {font, A. S. font, cf. E. 
fount), munnt {mount, A. S. imuit), sannt {saint, A. S. 
sanct), where the vowel has become long in English. But 
the instances are far more numerous in which a vowel before 
nd is already lengthened in the Orraulum. Thus in — 

O. bindenn (to bind), bundenn (bound), A. S. bindan, bunden. 
blind (blind), blendenn (to blind), A. S. blind, blendan. 
findenn (^o find) , fundejin (found), A. S.fiHdan,funden. 
grindeun (to grind), A. S. grindan. 
grund (ground), but grunndwall (foundation), A. ^. grund, grund- 

hund (hound), A. S. Jiund. 
kinde (nature, ^/«</, kindred), A. S. gecynd. 

minde (mind, memor>'), but minndi^nesse (memory), A. S.gemyttd. 
sund (sound, integer), A. S. sund. 
-windenn (to wind), in attwindenn (to escape), wundenn (toound), 

but winndeclut and ivindeclut (finding-clout, swaddliug-cloth) ; 

A. S. windan, wunden. 
wunde (wound, vulnus), A. S. wund. 

In the preterit singular, the Ormulum has band, fand, 
wand, like the Anglo-Saxon, but with short a lengthened ; 
these forms, however, are not represented in English, where 
the vowel of bound, found, wound, comes from the plural 
forms, bnndenn, fundenn, eic, A. S. bundoji, ftindon, etc. 
The change of vowel quantity before nd (as before Id and nib) 
is carried further in the Ormulum than in the modern Eng- 
lish, being extended to a r umber of words in which it failed 
to establish itself, so that the original short vowel is heard in 
their present pronunciation. Thus in — 

O. band (band), A. S. bend. 

ende (end, vulgar eend), A. S. ende. 

hand (hand), oftener hannd, but with added -e always hattde, A. S. 

land (land), A. S. land, 
sand (sand) , A. S. sand. 

sendenn (to send), but sennde (he sent), A. S. sendan, sende. 
shendenn (to shend, disgrace), A. S. scendan. 
strande (strand, bank), A. S. strand. 

sunderr-run (private communing, cf. sunder, asunder), A. S. sundor. 
wand (rod, wand), O. N. vand-r, vond-r, Goth, vandus. 
wendenn (to wend, turn, go), but wennde (he turned, went), A. S. wen- 
dan, wende. 


The vforAfreondyf rend {friend, A. S. fre6nd)doe?> not be- 
long to this series ; it came with long vowel quantity from the 
Anglo-Saxon into the Ormulum, and passed thus into the 
older English, as we see from the spelling with ie, which it has 
in common with the opposite, but strictly analogous, fiend 
{O.fend, A. S.feotid). 

It is a very curious fact that a lengthening of the vowel be- 
fore ng, similar to that before fid, is frequent in the Ormulum, 
although unknown to modern English, in which the vowel be- 
fore ng is always short.* Examples are — 

O. gang (journey, ci. gangwdiy), hut ganngenn (to go), A. S. gang, gan- 

genge (company, ci. gang), A. S. genge. 
king {king), A. S. cyning, cyng. 
lang (long), bilenge {belonging to), A. S. lang, gelenge : but lannge 

{long, diu), lenngre {longer), A. S. lange, lengra, leng. 
langenn (to long ahcY),forrlangedd (desirous), A. S. langian. 
mang, amang and amanng {among), A. S. amang, gemang. 
ringenn (to ring), A. S. hringan. 
singenn (to sing), sungenn (they sung), satig {song), A. S. singan, 

sungon, sang, 
springenn (to spring), sprang {sprang), sprungenn {sprung), off- 

spriiig {offspring), A. S. springan, sprang, sprungen, ofspring. 
stingenn (to sting), stungenn {stung), A. S. stingan, stungcn. 
Strang {strong), strengenn i^o strengthen), but strenncthe {strength), 

A. S. Strang, gestrangian, strengdhu. 
sivingenn (to scourge, cf. to swing, swinge), A. S. swingan. 
thing {thing), A. S. thing, 
bithrungenn (oppressed, cf. throng, i. e. press of people), A. S. 

bithrungen, from thringan, gethrang j but O. threnngdenn 

(they thronged), A. S. threngdon, from threngan. 
thwang {thong), A. S. thwang. 
tunge {tongue), A. S. tunge. 
wengess {wings), O. N. veng-r. 
wrang {wrong) , A. S. wrang. 
lung {young) , rarely %unng, comp. lunngre {younger), A. S.geong, 


* The Norse grammarians recognize in that language a similar lengthening of 
primitive short vowels {a, o, u, i), when followed by ng (or nk ; also of a, o, u, 
when followed by If, Ig, Ik, Im, Ip, Is) : thus /dng-r {long), sprxnga (to spring), 
f&nga {tongue), vceng-r or veng-r {wing). It seems, however, to be question- 
able, whether, or how far, this change belonged to the old language. See Heyne, 
Kurze Gramm. der alt germ. Dialecte, 2d ed., p. 82. 


In //^;/^ (hung, A. S. heng ; but henngde {^/lafiged], A. S. 
hangodc), the vowel was already long in Anglo-Saxon. 
Whether this extension to ng of the euphonic analogy which 
obtains for Jid ever gained much currency in the language, 
may well be doubted. It seems certain that it cannot have 
prev^ailed at the time (probably in the fifteenth century) when 
the old long sounds of i and u (as xnpiqiie, prude) began to 
pass into the diphthongal sounds heard in pike and proud ; 
for in that case, instead of saying khig, thing, totigue, siing, 
as we now do, we should probably be saying king, thing, 
toung, sou Jig, with the same vowel utterance as in kind, sound. 
It may be observed, however, that in the most recent English 
there is a noticeable tendency to lengthen somewhat the short 
sound of ^ before ng, so that lojig, song are apt to be pro- 
nounced with much the same vowel sound as or, nor, for. 

If now we have found in combinations such as Id, mb, nd, 
ng, where the fifst letter is a liquid and the second its cognate 
sonant mute, a certain tendency to protract the quantity of a 
preceding short vowel, it must be remarked that the ordinary 
tendency of a combination of consonants is in the opposite 
direction — not to the lengthening of a preceding short, but 
to the shortening of a preceding long. The speaker slights 
the vowel in order to concentrate his energy of utterance on 
the following consonants, which thus massed together pre- 
sent some difficulty of enunciation. It is as in the Greek 
TreveoTepo? (poorer), for Trej^o-re/jo?, i.e. 7reOT7T-T€/>o<?, from Trevi/?, 
7reveT-o<;. Of this change — a long vowel shortened on account 
of two or more consonants following it — numerous examples 
are found in the language of the Ormulum, when compared 
with the Anglo-Saxon. Thus — 

O. asskenn (to ask), A. S. dscian. 
bios st me (blossom), A. S. bios t ma. 
chappmenn (chapmen, merchants), A. S. cedpmen ; cf. O. chepinng- 

bothe (market-booth). 
clennlike (cleanly), clennsenn (to cleanse), from dene (clean), A. S. 

clcenlice, clcensian, from clcene. 
dredde (he dreaded), forrdredd (alarmed), from drcedenn, dredenn 

(to dread), A. S. dred, drceden, from drcedan ; in O., as in E., 

the verb has passed into the weak conj. 
errnde (errand), A. S. cerende. 


O. fcdde {Yiefed), irom fedenn {io feed), A. S./edde, (romfedan. 
Mtil {fiM, from// ifive), A. S.f>ftig, from/?/. ^ 
fosstrenn (to foster), fossterrfadcrr {foster father), A. S. fosterian, 

goddspell {gospel) belongs here, if the A. S. word is godspel (good 

tidings, =etiayyeXjoi') ; but this is now generally believed to be 

godspel (God's word) . 
hallihenn (saints, cf. Hallozu-een), hall^henn {to hallow) , A. S. hdlige 

or hdlge, halgian. 
hiddenn (they hid), hidd {hid), ixovahidenn (to hide), A. S. hyddon, 

hyded, from hydan. 
keppte (he kept), from kepenn (to keep), A. S. cepte, from cepan. 
lasstenn~.{to last), also lastenn, A. S. Icestan. 
ledde (he led), ledd {led), from ledenn {to lead), A. ?>. Icedde, Iceded, 

from Icedan. 
mosste (might, cf. must), A. S. moste. 
nesst (nearest, ne:?l), also nest (Sc. niest), A. S. nehst. 
redd {read, part.), A. S. reded, from redan, 
shadde (he parted), shadd (parted), from shadenn (to part, cf. to 

shed), A. S. scebd, scedden, from sceddan : of weak conj. in O. 

and E. 
siththenn {sithence, since), A. S. s'ldh tham, sidhdhan, perhaps 

sleppte (he slept), from slcspenti (to sleep), A. S. step, from slcepan : 

of weak conj. in O. and E. 
j^/^ {soft), A. S. j//^. 

spredd {spread, part.), A. S. sp reeded, from sprcedan. 
thratte (he rebuked, cf. threatened), A. S. thredtede, from thredtian. 
wepptenn (they wept), from wepcnn (to iueep), A. S. webpon, from 

wepan : of weak conj. in O. and E. 
wimtnann {woman), also wifmann, A. S. w'fman, wtmman, per- 
haps wimman. 
wissdom {wisdom), also wisdom, A. S. wisdotn. 

Probably the short vowel in wraththe {wrath), as well as in 
laththe {loathing, enmity), and kiththe seen in kithtJielii ^^~ 
miliarly, cf. kith), may be accounted for in this way, from the 
addition of a suffix //^^ (A. S. dh, dhji) — the same as in 
strenncthe {strength), trotvwthe {truth), from Strang {strong), 
trowwe {true) — to the adjectives wrath {wroth, A. S. wrddh), 
lath {loathsome, hateful, A. S. Iddh), and cuth (known, couth, 
A. Sfcudh): compare A. S. Icedhdhu (offence), cydJidhu 
(home, household). It is possible that in these words, as*well 
as in dredde, fcdde, hiddenn, tedde, shadde, siththenn, wimmann, 
the first vowel may have been pronounced long, the follow- 


ing consonant being written double only because it was sound- 
ed twice, first in the stem, and again in the suffix.* It is also 
possible, or even probable, that in some cases the change from 
long to short, now under consideration, may have taken place 
already in the Anglo-Saxon ;t but this makes no difference, 
either in the reality of the change or in the cause from which 
it arose. 

In the list of words just given, the short sound which ap- 
pears in the Ormulum is maintained in modern English. The 
case is otherwise with those which follow : — - 
O. allniasst {almosi), though the simple word is nearly always mast 
{most)y A. S. mcEst. 
dcmmd (judged), from dementi (to judge, cf. doom, deem), A. S. 

de Tiled, from dlman. 
derre {dearer), from deore, dere {dear), A. S. deorra, from deore. 
derrlinng {darling), A. S. debrling. 
dunnwarrd {downward) , from dun {dowti), A. S. ddunweard, from 

hehhre {higher), also hehre, from heh {high), A. S. hedhra, from 

* Such a supposition must, however, be r^arded as improbable for these words, 
on account of the short quantity which they have in English ; and especially im- 
probable for the preterits in -dt/e, on account of the corresponding participles 
dredd, hidd, Udd, etc. , in which a really double pronunciation of the d is hardly 
to be thought of. 

Wliat is here recognized as possible — that a vowel before a double consonant 
may have been long, tlie consonant being written twice because actually twice 
sounded — must be admitted also for Ititte (he louted), as well as the comparatives 
derre {dearer) and nerre {nearer), mentioned in the next paragraph ; and, perhaps 
with still stronger reason, for the words clamnesse (clean-tiess), fiffald {fivefold) , 
Leffull {belief full, believing). As we have skilllas {skill-less, ignorant), sefenn- 
Hahht {seven-night, week), uhnned {un-need, without constraint), sttnderrrun 
{sunder-roun, private communing), forrraht (perverted, Germi ver-rUckt), it seems 
not unlikely that the r, «, and f would have been written thrice in derre, nerre, 
clcennesse, fiffald, laffull, if their fiist vowel had been short in sound; but the 
spelling ol fullike {full-like, fully), stilli\ {stilly), idelle-yf=idellnesse {idleness), 
drunnkennesse {drunken-ness), unnitt (useless. Germ, un-nutz), forrs70unden- 
nesse (remissness), orrath as well as or r rath (inops consilii, O. N. br-radh), warns 
us not to lay too much stress on this consideration. 

f The same possibility is not to be overlooked in other cases where the vowel 
quantity of the Ormulum differs from what must have been the primitive quantity 
in Anglo-Saxon. This is particularly true as- to that lengthening of vowels in 
open syllables which is soon to be considered : the change could hardly have gone 
so far in the language of the Ormulum, if it had not made a beginning in Anglo- 
Saxon times. 


O. hcrrde (he heard) , herrd (hcarif) , irom herenn {iohear),A,'E>.hyrde, 
hyred, from hyran. 
laffdi^ {lady), A. S. hlcefdige j cf. O. laferrd (lord), A. S. hlaford. 
liccness (likeness), from lie (like), A. S. gelwnes, from gelic, but O. 

onnlicnesse (likeness, image). 
lutte (he bowed, louted),^ from lutenn (to /(??//'), A. S. /m/, from lutan : 

of weak conj. in O. and E. 
nerre (nearer), from ner (nearly), O. N. ncerri, from nar ; cf O. ner 

(nearer), from «^/i (nigh), A. S. near, from neah. 
oththr, orr, from otherr (all meaning <7r), A. S. cidher =^ awdher 

(either) : oththr, perhaps, by a confusion of A. S. odhdhe (or) 

with adher. 
Thurrsdaii (Thursday), O. N. Thors-dag-r, A. S. Thunres-dSg. 
wennde (he weened), from wenenn (to ween, think), A. S. wende, from 

wesste (waste, desert, adj. and subst.), A. S. weste. 

From a continued working out of the same tendency, the 
EngHsh has a short vowel before two or more consonants in 
some words where the Ormulum shows the original long 
vowel quantity : — 

O. adle (disease, cf addle), A. S. ddl. 
breost, brest (breast), A. S. breost. 
brethre (brethren), A. S. brodhru. 
buhsumm (pliant, compliant, cf buxom), from A. S. bugan (to bend, 

to-clcef (he cleft, also clave, clove), A. S. deaf, from cleo/an (to cleave), 
dost (dost, usual pron. dust), also dosst, from don (to do), A. S. dest, 

from don. 
fifte (Jifth),fiftende (fifteenth), A. S.fifta, f'ftebdha, O. '^.fimt&ndi. 
freond,frend (friend), A. S.frebnd. 
gom (care, heed, ci. gumption), A. S. gedm. 
hcese (command, hest), A. S. hcss. 
hcold, held (he held), from haldenn (to hold), A. S. hebld, from heal- 

monethth (month), A. S. monadh. 
naness, in forr the naness if or the nonce), from ceness (once, So. 

aines), A. S. cene. 

In the following words also the shortening may be ex- 
plained on the same principle, since the vowel which is 
written before their final liquid is little, if at all, represented 
in their actual pronunciation : — 
O. cpfre (ever), ncefre (never), A. S. eefre, ncefre. 
becnenn (to beckon), A. S. bectian, beacnian. 


O. bosemm {bosom, often pron. with long 00 sound), A. S. bosm. 

brotherr {brother), pi. brethre {brethren), A. S. brodhor, brodhru. 
moderr {mother), A. S. modor. 
otberr {other), A. S. odher. 
wcepetin {weapon), A. S. wapen. 

The cases which we have been considering show an ac- 
cented long vowel shortened in a close syllable, where it is 
separated by more than one audible consonant sound from 
the vowel of the following syllable. VVe have next to notice 
a change which is the converse of this, a change which has 
cut much deeper into the integrity of the old system of quan- 
tities : the lengthening of an accented short vowel in an open 
syllable (generally a penult) — that is, when separated by only 
one consonant sound from the vowel of the syllable which 
follows. This change has been carried to a very great extent 
in the modern German : geben i^o gh'e), nieder (down, cf, E. 
nether), tragen (to draw), jiehnien (to take), are examples 
taken up at random out of an immense multitude. Accord- 
ing to Schleicher, this change of quantity belongs to, and is a 
prominent feature in, the transition from Middle to Modern 
High German, which was made in the fifteenth century. In 
England the change must have commenced its progress 
earlier, as we find it carried very far in the language of the 
Ormulum, which belongs to the thirteenth century. We give 
first the instances in which the lengthened vowel seen in the 
Ormulum became so established in English usage as to re- 
main long in the pronunciation of to-day. Thus — 

O. -ale {ale), in bridale (^r/</^- feast), A. S. ealu,brydealu. In E. bridal 

it has become short again. 
a^he {awe), but also e-jj^ (fear), A, S. ege j cf. O. N. eegja (to strike 

with fear or awe), 
bakenn (to bake), A. S. bacan. 

bede (prayer, cf. bead, bead-xoW., beads-Tna.n), A. S. gebed. 
berenn (to bear), borenn {born), A. S. beran, boren. 
bidell (crier, messenger, cf. beadle), A. S. by del. 
brasene {brazen), from brass {brass), A. S. brasen, from bras, 
brekenn (to break) ^ A. S. brecan. 

bridledd {bridled), with l from bridell (? ndt found in O.), A. S. bridel. 
bule {bole, tree-stem), in bulaxe (axe, hatchet, cf, pole-axe), O. N. 

bolbxi, from bol-r. 
care {care), A. S. cearu, caru. 


O. charii (mournful, anxious, cf. chary), A. S. cearig, from cearu. 

chosenn (chosen), from chesenn (to choose), A. S. cor en, from cebsan. 
clofenn {cloven), A. S. clofen, from cleofan (to cleave), 
cnapess (boy's, cf. knave), A. S. cnape, cnafa (boy). 
cnedenn (to knead), A. S. cncdan. 
dcekcnn (Levite, deacon), A. S. diacon, Lat. diaconus. 
dale {dale), A. S. ^ti/.- original quantity preserved in E. dell, 
draihenn (to draw, drawn), A. S. dragan, dragen. 
kirrkedure (church-^/iC^r), A. S. duru {door). 

,efenn (equal, even), but pi. effne, vb. effnenn. A- S. ^(?«, efenian. 
ele {oil), A. S. ^/i?, O. Fr. oile, oille, Lat. olenm. 
etenn (to <?«/), but impv. ett {eat), A. S. ^/a«, et. 
fader r {father), A. S. fader. 

farcnn (to go, fare), but impv.y^rr, A. S.faran, far. 
biforenn {before), also bforr, A. S. beforan. 
bifrorenn {frozen), A. S.froren, irovafreosan {io freeze), 
gate (way, cf.gait), O. N.gata (way), A. S.geat (gate), 
grcefess (ditches, ci. grave), A. 'S>. graf. 

-gume (man), in bridgume {bridegroom), A. ?>. guma, brydguma. 
hatenn (to hate), hete {hate), A. S. hatian, hete. 
hefenn (to raise, heave), hofenn {hove, hoven), A. S. hebban, hofen. 
hire (her), A. S. hire, 
hi^henn (to hasten, cf. to hie), higian. 
hope (hope), A. S. hopa. 
if ell (evil), A. S. yfel. 
kechcll {cake), O.N. kaka. 

ladenn (to draw out, cf. to lade water, also ladle), A. S. hladan. 
late (late), but lattre {latter), lattst (last), A. S. lat. Ultra, latost. 
la^he (law), A. S. lagu. 
forrlorenn (lost, ci.forlorti), irom forrlesenn (to lose), A. S.forloren, 

irom forleosan. 
makenn (to make, Sc. mak), but impv. mace, A. S. macian, maca. 
mele {meal, flour), A. S. melu. 
mete (meat, food), A. S. mete, 
efennmete (commensurate), from mett (measure, cf. mete), A. S. 

gemet : O. metelike {meetly), A. S. gemetluc. 
nakedd (naked), A. S. nacod. 

name (name), but nemmnenn (to name), A. S. name, ncmnan. 
binethenn (beneath), but niththrenn (to lower, cf. nether), A. S. be- 

'neodhan, nidherian. 
ni^henn (nine), ni^hennde {ninth), A. S. nigon, nigodha, O. N. 

mttndi (ninth), 
of err (over), but also offr, A. S. ofer. 
openn (open), but oppnenn (to open), A. S. open, openian. 
reihellboc (rule-book) , A. S. regol, Lat. regula. 
sake (quarrel, cf. sake), A, S. sacu. 


O. forrsakenn {io forsake, forsaken) , A. S.fvrsacan,forsacen. 
same {same), A. S. same (pariter), O. N. sam-r (idem). 
seihenn, sene {seen), A. S. sewen, segen, sen, from seon (to see), 
shame {shame), but shammfasst {shamefaced) , A. S. sceamu, sccam- 

shapenn (to form, create, cf. to shape), A. S. sceppan. 
skathenn (to harm, to scathe), A. S. sceadhan. 
slaynn {slain), from slan (to slay), A. S. slagen, from sleAn, 
smeredd {anointed, cf. smeared), A. S. smyred, from smyrian, cf. 

smeoru (ointment). 
spekenn (to speak), A. S. sprecan and specaii. 
stUenn (to steal), A. S. stelan. 
stirenn (to j/Zr, move, Sc. steer), A. S. styrian. 
swerenn (to Jievrtr), A. S. siuerian. 
anndswere {ansiver), A. S. andsicaru. 
takenn {to take, taken, Sc. /rt>t), but impv. /arr, A. S. tacan, tacen, 

tale (reckoning, number, cf. tale), A. S. taiu. 
tholenn (to suffer, Sc. thole), A. S. tholian. 
ivakenn (to wake, watch), A. S. ivacan. 

waterr {water), but wattrenn (to water), A. S. water, wdterian. 
weorelld, werelld {world), but gen. weorrldess, werrldess, A. S. 

weoruld, woruld, world, 
wrekenn (to wreak), wrache {wreak, revenge), A. S. wrecan, wracu. 
wuke {week), A. S. wucu. 
late {gate), also^ate, A. S. geat. 

It is remarkable that this change is carried to a much great- 
er extent in the Semi-Saxon of the Ormulum than it is in 
modern EngHsh. It should seem that there must have been 
a reaction early established, which set limits to the tendency, 
and maintained the short vowel in many words where it had 
begun to» be lengthened. Instances of this kind — where an 
accented short vowel in an open syllable is lengthened in the 
Ormulum, but the same vowel is found short in English 
(mostly, indeed, in monosyllables with final consonant sound) 
— are the following : — 

O. abufenn {above) ,—bufenn, from A. S. «, be, and ufan. ♦ 

beodenn, bedenn {bidden), A. S. boden (commanded) ,^ ^t'^if// (entreat- 
ed. [The A. S. verbs biddan (to entreat) and beodan (to com- 
mand) are pretty much confounded in O.] 
bisscopess, pi. of bisscopp {bishop), A. S. bisceop j , bisscopess had a 

secondarj- accent on the o. 
Hie {pity morsel), A. S. bite. 


O. bodii (body), A. S. bodig. 

bule (bull), Dutch bul, O. N. boli. 

clepedd (called, cf. chpt, yclept), from clcpenn, A. S. cleopod, from 

cude (cud), A. S. cud. 
cumenn (to come, also as part.), but impv. comm, cumin, A. S cu- 

man, cumen, cum. 
civike, pi. of cwicc (living, quick), A. S. civic, 
dide (did), from don (to do), A. S. dyde, from don. 
drake (dragon), A. S. draca, Lat. draco. 

drifenn (driven), from drifenn (to drive), A. S. drifen, from dri/an. 
fretenn (to fret, trans.), A. S.fretan (to eat up). 
glade, pi. oi gladd (glad) , gladenn (to gladden), A. S. glad , gladian. 
godess, gen. oi godd (god), but pi. goddess, A. S. ^^^. 
gresess (grasses), sing. \x\. gresshoppe (grasshopper), A. ?>. gras,gtlrs, 

hafcnn, but habbenn (to have), hafcsst, but haffst (hast), haffde 

(had), A. S. habban, ha/st, hdfde. 
hefii (heavy), A. S. /^(yfj?". 
heofenn (heaven), in comp., but as separate word heoffne, heffne, 

A. S. heofon. 
hiderr (hither), A. S. hider. 
hise, pi. oi hiss (his), A. S. ^/j. 
^7^«/3 (honey), A. S. hunig. 
kide (/^/rtO,O..N. /^/rt^. 
kiness, klne (comm. kinness, kinne), gen. and pi. oi kinn (kin, kind), 

A. S. rK«. 
lifethth (livetJi), from libbenn (to /zV^?), A. S. lijadh, libban. 
limess (limbs), sing, not in O., A. S. //w, pi. Icomu, limu. 
lit ell (little), pi. //V//^, A. S. /j//^/. 
lokenn (shut in, cf. locked), A. S. locen, from Mean, 
lotess, pi. oi lott (lot), A. S. /;/(9/, pi. hlotu. 
lufe (love), lufenti (to /cz/^'), but htffsumm (pleasant), A. S. ////V^, lufian, 

manii, mani (matiy), A. S. manig. 

mikell (gX'eaX, many, mickle, much), but pi. micclc, A. S. micel, 
mineteress (money-changers, cf. minter, mini), A. S. mynetere, from 

tnynet (money), Lat. moneta. 
muneclif (monk-life), A. S. munec (monk), Lat. monachus. 
naruXnarrow), but pi. narrwe, A. S. nearu. 
nile (niWh^^ i. e. will not), but «z/// (wz7/ «t7^), A. S. «<e//^, nelt. 
ofne (oven), dat. oiofenn (? not in O.), A. S. qfen. 
peninng (penny), A. ^. pending, petting, penig. 
rathe (quickly, cf. rathe, rather), A. S. hradhe, hradhor, from hrndh 

risenn (risen), from risenn (to rw^), A. S. risen, from r1sa/t. 


O. rotenn (to ro(), A. S. rotian. 

Saterrda\\ {Saturday), A. S. Saterndag, LaL Saturni dies. 

seofenn, sefenn {seven), but also seqffne, seffne ; seofenntii {seventy) : 

A. S. seofon, hundseofontig. 
shetenn (to shut up), A. S. scyttan. 
sikerr (sure, Sc. sicker), O. Sax. j/^<7r, O. H. Germ, sihhur, Lat 

ji«i?, rare for sinne (sin), A. S. syn. 

skathelcES (unharmed, scathless), A. S. sceadha (banner). 

stafess, pi. of staff (letter, cf. staff, old pi. staves), A. S. staf {staff , 

j/^</<f (place, cf. stead), A. S. j/!?//<?. 

stekenn (to confine, cf. to stick, remain fast), A. S. stician. 
stoke {stock), dat of stocc (? not in O.), A- S. stoc. 
sume, pi. oisumm {some), A. S. sum. 
sumcrr {summer), A. S. sumor. 
sum {son), A. S. sunu. 
Sunenndaii {Sunday), from sunne, rarely sune {sun), A. S. sunne, 

thiderr {thither), A. S. thider. 
fvllthrifenn (complete, cf. thriven), O. N. thrifinn, from thrifask (to 

thrive). , 
thripell {triple), from LaL triplex, Fr. triple, confused witb A. S. Mriy 

cf prov. Eng. thribble. 
tredenn (to tread, trodden), A. S. tredan, treden. ^ 

•whiderrwarrd {^hitherward), A. S. hwider. 
widewe, coram, widdwe {Tuidow), A. S. tvidwe, ivydewe. 
wilenn (to a//7/), but a///7/ {wilf), A. S. willan, wilt, 
witenn (to know, cf to wit, O. E. to weet), but impv. a////, A. S. 

witan, wit. 
writenn {written), from writenn {to write), A. S. writen, from wrxian : 

cf O. writess, pi. oiwritt {writ), A. S. or//. 
wude {wood), A. S. wudu. 
wunedd {woni), from wunenn (to accustom), A- S. wuna, gewuna 

Ytenn {to get), ^ett (gets), di^etenn (gotten), A. S. begitan, begiten. 
%ifenn {to give, given), 2^so written with^, but impv. ^iff, A. S. gi/an. 

That this change — the lengthening of an accented short 
vowel in an open syllable — was still in progress at the time 
of the Ormulum, so that the usage in respect to it was then 
unsettled and fluctuating, is apparent from indications in the 
book itself. A number of the words given in the last two 
lists have here and there a mark of short quantity written 
over the vowel, as if the writer, having first given it as long 


with only a single consonant after it, was afterwards inclined 
to recall his judgment, to set it down as short, and therefore 
drew a curve line over it, this being an easier way than dou- 
bling the consonant by interlineation. What makes this ex- 
planation more probable is the fact that, while there are more 
than forty distinct words which in one place or another have 
this short mark over them, it occurs in almost every case over 
an accented vowel in an open syllable. That there was a 
special vacillation on the part of the writer as to the quantity 
of such vowels seems a natural, if it is not a necessary, in- 
ference from this fact. Thus beretin (to bear) is once at least 
written with a mark of short quantity over the accented 
vowel ; and the same is true of bede {bede), dale {dale), hatenn 
(to hate), hete {hate), ladenn (to lade), late {late), fnele {meal), 
mete {meat), name {name), stelen (to steal), takenn (to take), 
tale {tale) ; also bite {bit), cnde {cud), kine {kin), lifethth 
{liveth), sine {sin), stede {stead), thrifenn {thriven), wilenn 
(to will), witenn (to wit), writenn {written). 

Under the broad euphonic analogies and* tendencies which 
have now been described come all but a comparatively small 
number of the cases in which the modern English quantity 
differs from that in the Ormulum. There remain, however, 
some few changes which are not altogether of an isolated 
character. A long vowel of the Anglo-Saxon and the Ormu- 
lum has in a good many instances been shortened before a 
final mute. This is especially the case with the old long o 
before a finals-sound. The long quantity of that vowel was 
indicated in early English by doubling the o : thus bdc was 
written book. The sound afterwards changed to that which we 
hear in spoon, spool ; and still later was shortened to its pres- 
ent pronunciation. Instances of this kind are — 

O. boc* {book), A. S. boc. 

croc (hook or crook, device), O. N. krok-r. 
lokenn (to looli), A. S. locian. 
forrsoc {forsook), irovn. forrsakenn (to forsake), A. S.forsoc, from 

toe {took), from takenn (to take), A. S. toe, from tacan. 

* In this word, and in several others, where a long vowel has become short be- 
fore a final consonant, the Scotch retains the earlier long quantity : thus, bulk, 
bruik, bluid, gude, etc. 


Occasionally other long vowels have become short before a 
i^-sound, as in — 

O. brukenn (to use, enjoy, cf. to brook), A. S. briuan. 
Jic {fig), '\xvjictre {fig-tree), A. S./ic, Lat.ficus. 
seoc, sec {sick), A. S. seoc. 

strac (passed, cf. struck, O. E. strook), A. S. strAc, from strkan. 
wic (dwelling, street, cf. ^w^nwick, Greenw/V^), A. S. vAc. 

The same change of quantity has taken place not unfre- 
quently before d, seldomer before t : thus — 

O. blod {blood), A. S. blod. 
flod {flood). A, ^.flod. 
god {good), A. S. god. 

stod {stood), from stanndenn (to stand), A. S. stod, from standan. 
-wod (mad, Sc. wud), A. S. wod. 
breed {bread), A. S. bread, 
dad {dead), A. S. dead, 
drcedenn, dredenn (to dread), A. S. drcedan. 
hcefedd {head), A. S. heafod. 
shadenn (to part, cf to shed), A. S. sceadan. 
shrcedenn (to shred, pare, cf Sc. screed), A. S. screddian. 
but, comm. butt {but, except), A. S. butan. 
fot (foot), A. S.fot. 
hat {hot), A. S. hat. 
latenn and letenn (to let, allow, also as part, let), pf let (he ht)f.P^ S. 

Uetan, la: ten, pf. let. 
swat {sweat), A. S. swat. 

wcete (drink), from wcet (not in O., wet, Sc. weet), A. S. wcet. 
wat, also watt {wot), from witenn (to know, cf. to wit), A. S. wdt, 

from witan. 

In bedethth or biddethth ibiddetli), forrbedethth {forbiddeth), 
the long form comes from A. S. beodan (to command), the 
short one from A. S. biddan (to entreat) ; in biddenn (to com- 
mand, to entreat) of the Ormulum, the forms of the two verbs 
are very much confounded. 

The few cases in which the difference of quantity between 
the Ormulum and the modern English is not to be explained 
from principles already set forth, will be found, so far as I 
have noted them, in the following list : 

O. amcen {amen), Gr. ^afxijv. 

an {an, one), rarely ann j nan {none) ; onnan, anan, also anann 


O. (anoii) ; A. S. an, nan. Eng. alone, atone, only, and Sc. ane, 

nane, preserve the original long quantity. 
anil (any), A. S. cenig. 
beon, ben (to be, been), A. S. beon (to be) : the long sound of been is 

still sometimes heard. 
cariteth {charity), Fr. charit'e, Prov. caritat, Lat. caritas. 
chele, also f^e/t' {chill, subs.), A. S. cele. 
clath (clothing, cf. cloth, but pi. clothes), A. S. clddh. 
cuthe [could), A. S. cudhe. 
da:f{deaf, cf. Sc. deave, to deafen), A. S. deaf, 
dceth {death), A. S. deddh. 

deofell, defell {devil, Sc. deevit) , A. S. debfol, Lat. diabolus. 
doth {doth, usual pron. dath), from ^£»« (to ^^), A. S. dedh, from 

flash {flesh), A. S.flasc. 

gluterrnesse {gluttony) , O. Fr. gloutonnie {horn glouton , Lat. glutd{n), 
from glutire) : in gluterrnesse English affixes are attached to the 
root {glut) of the Latin and French words. 

gyn (art, device, cf. gin), shortened from O. Fr. engin, but perhaps 
confused with a derivative of O. N. ginna (to deceive). 

inoh {enough, also enow), A. S. genog, genoh. 

bikcechedd {catched), also bikahht {caught) ; of uncertain origin. 

prof etc , prophete {prophet), 'La.t. propheta. 

publicaness {publicans), 1.2it. publicdni. 

rcedi\ {ready), also rcsdclike, A. S. rcede, rcedlu. 

riche {rich), A. S. rue. 

sari\ {sorry), but sare {sorely), A. S. sdrig, from sar {sore). 

selilii (happily), A. S. scelig, gescslig (happy, Sc. seely), whence E. 

shephirde {shepherd), from shep {sheep), A. S. scedp, sceaphirde. 

shuncnn (to shun), A. S. scunian. 

tene {tcri), rarely tenn, tende {tenth), A. S. tyn, tm, teodha, O. N. 
t'iundi {tenth). The old long quantity is preserved in the com- 
pounds thirteen, thirteenth, etc., and in Sc. teinds {tithes). 

■onnicEncss {against, again), onnicen {again, against), A. S. ongedn 

%et {yet), strangely lengthened in O., A. S. git, gej, giet, gyt. 

drunncnenn (to drown, trans.), in form=A. S. druncnian (to get one 
drunk), cf O. N. drukna (to be drowned). 

^nngelt {angel), A. S. engel, angel, Lat. angelus. 

flumm (river, ci. flume), O. Yx.flum, 'LaX.flumen. 

funnt {font, cf. fount). A.. S.font, \.2X. fans , font-is . 

irrene (of iron, ferreus), from irenn (iron), A. S. tren (ferrum and 
ferreus) : rr in irrene perhaps an oversight. 

munnt {tnount), A. S. munt, Lat. mons, mont-is. 

■sannt (saint), A. S. sanct, Lat. sanctus. 


O. sUckenn* shkkenn (to slake), A. S. sleac {slack) , giskccan (to slack- 
en), O. N. slokkva (to slake), 
thurrh (ihrougK), A. S. thurh, thuruh {through, thorough), 
waccnenn (to waken, trans, and intrans.), A. S. wacnan : lengthened 

in E. under influence of to wake, O. wakenn, A. S. wacan. 
whatnm {whom), from wha {who), A. S. hwam, from hwa. 
yocc {yoke), A. S.geoCygioc. 

In the case of bec7t, could, deaf, death, enough, ready, 
again, against, the spelling shows that they came into Eng- 
lish with the long quantity which they had in the Ormulum. 
The preterits barr {bare, bore, A. S. bar), bat {bit, A. S. bdf), 
brace {brake, broke, A. S. bra£), covim (came, A. S. cwam, 
coni), cwathth {quoth, A. S. cwddh), sahh {saw, A. S. seah), 
space {spake, spoke, A. S. sprdc), \aff i gave, A. S. geaf). have 
not been placed in the foregoing lists, because the English 
forms, though used in both numbers, correspond apparently 
to the plurals of the A. S^ {beer on, bit on, brcecon, cwdtnon or 
coinon, cwcedon, sdwon or scegon, sprcecon, gedfoii) and the 
O. {bcerenn, coinenn, ste^henn, spcekenyi, \cBfenti) : in^/(he ate, 
A. S. at) with long e like pi. etenn (they ate, A. S. cetoii), the 
same extension of the plural quantity to the singular appears 
even in the Ormulum. The on in the English preterits bound, 
found, wound — A. S. i , 3 sing, band, fand, wand, pi. bund- 
on, fundon, wundon • O. sing, band, fand, wand, pi. bundenn, 
fimdenn — is to be explained in the same way.f 

We have not yet attended to the suffixes of inflection and 
derivation ; but for these only a few words will be necessary. 
The inflectional endings are all short in the Ormulum : there 
is reason, indeed, to believe that such as were originally long 
had become short during the Anglo-Saxon period. Thus the 
Ormulum has 

-ess in the gen. sing. : as Jlashess kinde {fleshes kindred, A. S. 

flcesces gecynd). 
-ess in the plural : as lachess {leeches, A. S. Icecas, earlier lacas or 

Icecias) . 

■ — _ 

* The digraph ck, in the Ormulum, is equivalent to cc or Jtk, and marks the 
vowel before it as short. At the end of a word, or before a consonant, cc is alone 
used ; if a vowel follows in the same word, ck or k£ takes its place. 

f For several of these preterits the Scottish dialect has forms — such as ^ak, 
cam, spak, fand, etc — which correspond to those here given from the Ormulum. 


-err in the compar. forrtherr {further, A. S. furdhor), irom forth 
{forth, A. S.fordh) : in the compar. of adjectives the O. has -re 
(A. S. -ra, -re), a.s fu/re {fouler, A. S. fulra). In E., -er has 
become long by change of r. 

-esst in the superl. : as deresst {dearest, A. S. deorost, deorest). 

-esst in the 2d person of verbs : as heresst {hearest, A. S. hyrest). 

-ethth in the 3d person of verbs : as lokethth {looketh, A. S. locadh). 

-enn in the past part. : as haldenn {holden, A. S. healden). 

-edd in the past part. : as wundedd (pounded, A. S. wundod). 

The -de of the weak preterit is usually added directly to 
the stem, as dredde (he dreaded). The present participle ter- 
minates in -ennde (A. S. -ende), but is rare in the O., the only 
instances where it is a proper participle being bcenientide 
{burning), dwallkennde (misleading), glowennde [glowing), 
and stinnkennde {stinking). The suffix -inng is very frequent, 
but always forms a verbal substantive ; while -iing, which in 
Anglo-Saxon is more used for this purpose, is in O. confined 
to the word reowwsunng {I'lieing, repentance) and two or three 
others. Suffixes of this kind, found both in O. and in E.,are — 

-ell {K. S. -el) : as gtrrdell {girdle) . 

-ene (A. S. -<?«) : as brasene {brazen). 

-ere (A. S. -ere) : as mine teres s {minters, money-changers) ; very 
rare in O. ; another instance perhaps '\nforrle\errncsse (fornica- 
tion) . 

-inng (A. S. -ing, -ung) : as biginninng {beginning), laferrdinngess 
{lor dings). 

-issh (A. S. -isc) : as shepisshe (sheepHke, sheepish). 

-il (A. S. -ig) : as modii {moody). 

-linng (A. S. -ling) : as derrlinng {darjing). 

-nesse (A. S. -nes) : as godnesse {goodness), wittness (witness). 

-stere (A. S. -stre) : only in huccsteress {huckster'' s). 

In final -ene and -ere, the first e, short in A. S., is length- 
ened by the open syllable : the English -er is of course long. 
Final -il is long in consequence of the partial vocalization of 
the^ (compare the effect of a weak r), while the correspond- 
ing suffix -y of the later language, discarding the semivowel, 
has returned to the short quantity of A. S. -ig. The same 
changes appear in the numerals twenntil, thrittil, fowwerrtil, 
etc. {twenty, thirty, forty, etc., A. S. twentig, thrittig, feo- 
wertig, etc.) But in the ^suffix -lil {pnx-ly) the vowel was 


originally long, the words which contain it being compounds 
of the adj. like (O. lie, A. S.^elie). Suffixes of this kind 
(really words in composition) are the following, found both in 
the Ormulum and in English : 

-dom (A. S. -doni) : as horedom {whoredom). 

-/aid (A. S. -feald) : as threfald {threefold). 

-fasst (A. S. -ftist) : as stedefasst {steadfast) ; in shammfasst (shatne- 
faced) the form has been changed by mistaken popular ety- 

-full (A. S. -ful) : as sinnfull {sinful). 

-had (A. S. -had) : as ma\\dennhad {maidenhood, maidenhead). 

-lac (A. S. -lac) : only in weddlac {wedlock). 

-loss (A. S. -leas) : as childlas {childless) ; rarely -less, as etideless 

-lie, -like or -//} (A. S. -lie): as eorthlic, eorthlike, eorthlii {earthly). 

-mann '(A. S. -man) : as allderrmann {alderman). 

-shipe (A. S. -scipe) : as wurrthshipe and wurrshipe {worship). 

-summ (A. S. -sum) : as halsumm {wholesome). 

-warrd (A. S. -weard) : as affterrwarrd {afterward). 

In -fald and -shipe, the Ormulum has lengthened an Anglo- 
Saxon short vowel, from the influence of Id in the first case, 
and of an open syllable in the second ; as to the last, the 
English agrees with the Anglo-Saxon. The short vowel of 
-warrd has been lengthened in English by the weak r ; while 
the long vowel has been shortened in -dom, -had, -lac, Ices^ 
two of which end with mute sounds. In las, the change had 
commenced in the thirteenth century. The Ormulum has in 
many words a suffix -/^jjir — as seen in godle\\c,=godnesse 
{goodness) — which corresponds to -leik-r (=A. S. -lac), a fre- 
quent suffix in the Old Norse. Peculiar cases are rihhtwis 
{righteous, A. S. rihtwis), and stall wurrthlil (stoutly, cf. 
stahvart, A. S. stalweordii). 



MANY readers have confessed the disappointment which 
they felt upon their first acquaintance with " The Prin- 
cess :" and perhaps nothing but the want of equal frankness 
has kept back many others from the same confession. Though 
[in 1849] not extensively read in this country, Mr. Tennyson 
had come to be rated, according to his fame at home, as first 
among the English poets of the present generation. A large 
class of readers, who had taken this opinion upon trust, were 
looking to see it confirmed in his forthcoming poem, which, 
as the public were assured in sundry notices, was to be the 
longest and the most elaborate of his productions. Great in 
many cases was their disappointment, when, instead of a 
second Paradise Lost, they found what seemed to them only 
a grotesque extravaganza about " woman's rights." But 
there were others, old admirers of the poet, familiar with his 
earlier pieces ; who had dwelt delighted on the splendid pomp 
of his " Morte d'Arthur," the epic breadth of his " Ulysses," 
the energy and passion of his " Locksley Hall," that miracle 
of condensation ; and who were now expecting to find all the 
merits of their favorite's youthful genius, united and exalted in 
this effort of his riper years. But lo! instead of the Gothic 
cathedral or the Egyptian pyramid on which their hopes were 
fixed, they see, much to, their surprise, only a glittering castle 
in the air. Chagrined to find the work so different from their 
preconceptions, they shut their eyes to its indisputable merits. 
Its grace and gayety, its genial humor, its aptness of expres- 
sion, its brilliancy of coloring go for little with those whose 
minds were set on greater things. Qualities which might have 

* The Princess : a Medley ; by Alfred Tennyson. Boston : William D, Tick- 
nor & Co. 


pleased them in a Christmas romance or a fairy tale for chil- 
dren, seem out of place in what they had predestined for the 
master-piece of a great poet. Still they read on, hopeful of a 
change ; hoping that suddenly, as by some flourish of an en- 
chanter's wand, the fantastic air-castle may settle down into 
the solidity and solemnity of the Egyptian pyramid. Nor are 
there wanting here and there tokens of sucfi a metamorphosis : 
the colors seem to deepen ; the forms to take on fixity and 
definiteness ; laughing extravagance to give signs of earnest- 
ness and truth. These appearances, however, prove illusory : 
the edifice, though more imposing than it looked at first, has 
yet neither substance nor foundation ; it is thin air, and not 
genuine brick and mortar ; " the baseless fabric of a vision," 
without strength or unity or grandeur. And so the disap- 
pointed reader shuts his book, doubting his past convictions 
of its author's genius, and renouncing, for the time at least, 
his faith in Tennyson. 

Not a few, it is believed, will recognize in this description 
a tolerably accurate rehearsal of thejr own experience. Even 
of those whose first impressions were more favorable, few 
perhaps would say that the work fully satisfied their expecta- 
tions. On the other hand, fewer still would venture to deny 
that there is much in it which is excellent and admirable. 
The severest critic must acknowledge that its faults, however 
serious, are redeemed by many beauties of detail. A recol- 
lection of its beauties has won back the complainer, recover- 
ing from the first flurry of his disappointment, to a reperusal 
of the poem. Reading now as one who having formed his 
judgment is no longer forced to play the critic, he proceeds 
in a more cheerful mood, with a mind more open to all 
sources of enjoyment. Things which at first offended him 
are grown familiar, so that if they do not please they at least 
cease to be offensive. At the same time, new felicities and 
beauties, hitherto unnoticed, rise before him ; they gather 
and grow thick about him as he advances; and when he has a 
second time attained the goal, he is .ready- to. retract, if he 
ha^ not quite forgotten them, his former disparaging criti- 

It is impossible to do justice to the work in any abstract 


of its story ; and yet we know not how to make the criticisms 
which we have to offer inteUigible without some statement of 
the plot. We shall follow closely in the author's track, and 
tell the tale as much as possible in his own words. 

The performance opens with an overture which for its airy 
gracefulness of movement and dexterous announcement of- the 
theme could hardly be surpassed. Here the poet shows him- 
self a true man of the nineteenth century ; one not so enam- 
ored of the past as to have lost all consciousness and sym- 
pathy for the present. He can enjoy the fresh breath of the 
passing day, and drive gayly on with the living currents of con- 
temporaneous thought and action. His "Prologue" con- 
tains a spirited miniature of the age, dashed off in a few 
characteristic strokes which bring the very form and pressure 
of the time before us. 

The scene opens in the grounds of Sir Walter Vivian : — 

" No little lily-handed Baronet he, 
A great broad-shoulder'd genial Englishman, 
A lord of fat prize-oxen and of sheep, 
A raiser of huge melons and of pine, 
A patron of some thirty charities, 
A pamphleteer on guano and on grain, 
A quarter-sessions chairman, abler none ; 
Fair-hair'd and redder than a windy morn." 

This variously accomplished knight, we are informed, — 

"all a summer's day 
Gave his broad lawns until the set of sun 
Up to the people ; thither flock'd at noon 
His tenants, wife and child, and thither half 
The neighboring borough with their Institute, 
Of which he was the patron. I was there 
From college, visiting the son — the son 
A Walter too — with others of our set." 

The young Walter takes his friends about the house, show- 
ing its curiosities, a heterogeneous collection, and producing 
an old chronicle of its ancient owners, where they read the ex- 
ploits of Sir Ralph, a crusading hero of the family, and of — 


" z. lady, one that arm'd 
Her own fair head, and salhing thro' the gate. 
Had beat her foes with slaughter from her walls." 

The party at length set forth on *a visit to the ruins of an 
Abbey in the Park. On their way they view the multitude 
scattered in groups over the meadow, and variously occupied ; 
some listening, while "the patient leaders of their Institute 
taught them with facts," or watching illustrative experiments 
with mimic fountain, fire-balloon, steam-engine, and electric 
telegraph, while others are engaged in the less scientific 
amusements of cricket-playing, fiddling, and dancing. Ar- 
rived at the Abbey, our youths fall in with Aunt Elizabeth, 
an elderly maiden lady of grave deportment, and sister LiUa, 
"half child, half woman," who had just attired the broken 
statue of Sir Ralph in scarf and shawl, the gay costume of a 
modern belle. The sight of this " feudal warrior lady-clad" 
brings up the old chronicle before mentioned, and with it the 
heroic lady and her martial daring : and then the question 
rises, " Where lives such a woman now ? " 

" Quick answer'd Lilia, ' There are thousands now 
Such women, but convention beats them down : 
It is but bringing up ; no more than that : 
You men have done it : how I hate you all ! 
O were I some great Princess, I would build 
Far off from men a college of my own. 
And I would teach them all things : you should see.' 

And one said smiling, * Pretty were the sight 
If our old halls could change their sex, and flaunt 
With prudes for proctors, dowagers for deans. 
And sweet girl-graduates in their golden hair. 

Yet I fear. 

If there were many Lilias in the brood. 
However deep you might embower the nest. 
Some boy would spy it' 

At this upon the sward 
She tapt her tiny silken-sandal'd foot : 
* That's your light way ; but I would make it death 
For any male thing but to peep at us.' " 


The conversation passes on to college recreations : Christ- 
mas tales are mentioned, extemporaneous fictions in which 
the whole company participate, each one taking up the story 
where his neighbor left it. A new thought presents itself: — 

" ' Why not a summer's as a winter's tale ? 
A tale for summer, as befits the time ; 
And something it should be to suit the place, 
Grave, moral, solemn, like the mouldering walls 
About us.' " 

The hint is followed up ; a tale resolved on, and the " first 
person " in our Prologue named as leader, with the direction, 
"be, if you will, yourself your hero." 

" ' Look then,' added he, 
' Since Lilia would be princess, that you stoop 
No lower than a prince.' 

To which I said, 
' Take care then that my tale be followed out 
By all the lieges in my royal vein : 
But one that really suited time and place 
Were such a medley, we should have him back 
Who told the Winter's Tale to do it for us : 
A Gothic ruin and a Grecian house, 
A talk of College and of ladies' rights, 
A feudal knight in silken masquerade, 
And there with shrieks and strange experiments 
For which the good Sir Ralph had burnt them all. 
The nineteenth century gambols on the grass.' " 

He then commences, representing himself as a Prince 
whose father rules with rigid sway over a wide kingdom 
situated somewhere in high northern latitudes. While yet 
an infant he had been betrothed to the infant Princess of a 
neighboring country, equally indefinite in situation, being 
described only as lying south of the former. But when the 
time has come to execute the contract, and an embassy is 
sent with costly gifts to fetch the lady, there appears an un- 
expected obstacle : the Princess cannot be induced to come ; 
" she has a will — and maiden fancies ; loves to live alone 
among her women: certain will not wed." The northern 
king, furious at this violation of a solemn compact, " sware 


that he would 'send a hundred thousand men and fetch her in 
a whirlwind." Our hero remonstrates ; urges milder courses ; 
offers to go himself and ascertain the truth. Failing to gain 
permission, he takes the matter into his own hands ; steals 
from court " wrth Cyril and with Florian, his two friends; " 
flying southward crosses the frontier, and so journeys on 
until he — 

" gained the mother-city thick with towers, 
And in the imperial palace found .the king. 
His name was Gama ; cracked and small his voice : 
A little dry old man, without a star. 
Not like a king." 

The Prince speaks of his betrothed, and Gama answers — 

" I would you had her, Prince, with all my heart. 
With my full heart ; but there were widows here, 
Two widows, Lady Psyche, Lady Blanche : 
They fed her theories, in and out of place. 
Maintaining that with equal husbandry 
The woman were an equal to the man." 

Acting under such influences, she had begged from her 
father a certain summer-palace on the northern frontier of his 
dominions, and established there "an University for maidens," 
from which all men, even her own brothers, were rigorously 
shut out. Gama is ready to give the Prince letters to his 
daughter, though he rates his chance with her ' almost at 
naked nothing.' Our hero takes the letters, and sets out 
again with his associates : but on coming near the summer- 
palace, " a thought flash'd thro' him which he cloth'd in act." 
Having " tweezered out what slender blossom lived on lip or 
cheek of manhood," the three friends array themselves in 
female gear, and ask admission to the College. They are 
brought before the Princess Ida, whose appearance surpasses 
the expectation, and confirms the passion of her lover. She 
notices the tallness of the new-comers, but without suspecting 
tlieir disguise : and at tlieir own request enrols them pupils of 
the Lady Psyche ; a pretty widow, described as " a quick 
brunette, well -moulded, falcon-eyed, and on the hither side, 
or so she looked, of twenty summers." This attractive per- 


son is " lady of three castles in the land," and withal sister to 
Florian the Prince's friend. Ushered into her lecture-room, 
Cyril falls in love at once with the lady and her three castles, 
his regard being pretty equally distributed between them. 
After her lecture, a report of which is given, she meets her 
new pupils, and soon recognizes her brother with his two 
companions. She tells them of the inscription on the gate, 
" let no man enter in on pain of death," which, approaching 
after nightfall, they had failed of reading; but she readily 
agrees to keep their secret, on condition that they take the 
earliest opportunity to quit the place. This conversation is 
accidentally overheard by Melissa, Lady Blanche's lovely 
daughter, whose charms make an instant impression on the 
-heart of Florian. Melissa promises silence, but her mother, 
artful and suspicious, divines her secret, and succeeds in 
worming out a confirmation. Cyril, however, by playing on 
the tutoress's wounded vanity, and holding out bright hopes 
to her ambition, bribes her to concealment. Yet our adven- 
turers do not long preserve their incognito. They attend the 
Princess on an excursion " to take the dip of certain strata to 
the North:" after which at evening the party is gathered for 
rest and refreshment in a superb pavilion. Here, after two or 
three songs, — 

" Did Cyril, with whom the bell-mouth'd flask had wrought, 
Or master'd by the sense of sport, begin 
To troll a careless, careless tavern-catch 
Of Moll and Meg, and strange experiences 
Unmeet for ladies." 

Angry at his freedom, the Prince cries, "forbear, Sir," and 
smites him on the breast. The ladies on the instant take to 
flight : but coming to a stream which crossed their way, the 
Princess blind with rage misses the plank, and is swept down 
by the current towards a cataract not far below. Apprized of 
her peril by the shrieks of her attendants, our hero, as in 
duty bound, plunges in, and with some trouble bears her 
safely to the shore. The Princess returns to her palace, ascer- 
tains the treachery of her assistants, and summons them into 
her presence. Lady Psyche, it appears, has fled away with 


Cyril ; and Lady Blanche, in spite of a fluent and ingenious 
vindication of her conduct, is sternly banished from the place. 
Finally the Prince is brought up for judgment, and though 
the bloody penalty denounced against all masculine intruders 
is remitted, he is ignominiously thrust out of doors. 

Wandering forth he finds himself presently in bis father's 
camp, where his appearance in female garb — 

" drench'd with ooze, and torn with briers, 
More crumpled than a poppy from the sheath, 
And all one rag, disprinced from head to heel," 

provokes ungovernable laughter. The old king, it seems, 
learning the situation of his son, and fearing for his life, had 
crossed the frontier and was now beleaguering the summer- 
palace. King Gama too, who having just found out his 
daughter's sanguinary edict, was coming "all in haste, to 
hinder wrong," has fallen into the enemy's hands and is held 
a hostage for the safety of the Prince. But soon the rumor 
comes that Gama's sons. Prince Arac and his two stout broth- 
ers, are approaching with a powerful army. A consultation 
is held and peace resolved on : only the Prince's claim to his 
betrothed shall be decided by a grand tournament between 
fifty champions on either side. To this arrangement Ida 
gives consent, and appears on the battlements of the palace a 
spectator of the conflict. Our hero's party is utterly worsted : 
he himself and his two friends bear down two of the royal 
brothers on the opposite side, but are all three vanquished by 
the prowess of the resistless Arac. The struggle over, Ida 
comes forth with her ladies to give her wounded champions, 
"brethren of her blood and cause, the tender ministries of 
female hands and hospitality." As she passes by the spot 
where the Prince is lying, his aged father mourning over him 
as dead, she is struck with sudden sorrow and remorse : — 

" Her iron will was broken in her mind, 
Her noble heart was molten in her breast." 

Placing her finger on the Prince's brow, she soon announces 
that he lives, and offers to tend him with her own wounded 
brethren. A striking colloquy ensues, which ends in the ar- 


rangement that all the wounded, friend and foe without dis- 
tinction, shall be taken to the palace, and there receive the 
treatment which their hurts require. Meantime the ordinary- 
college business is suspended, the inmates for the most part 
returning to their homes. 

The result is easily foreseen. Cyril and Florian soon re- 
cover from their wounds and prosper in their loves. . The 
fate of the Prince is long doubtful : — 

" And twilight dawn'd ; and morn by morn the lark 
Shot up and shnll'd in flickering gyres, but I 
Lay silent in the muffled cage of life ; 
And twilight gloom'd ; and broader grown the bowers 
Drew the great night into themselves, and Heaven 
Star after star arose and fell, but I 
Lay sunder'd from the moving universe, 
Nor knew what eye was on me nor the hand 
That nursed me, more than infants in their sleep." 

All this time Ida is unremitting in her attendance : — 

" And still she fear'd that I should lose my mind ; 
And often she believed that I should die : 
Till out of long frustration of her care 
And pensive tendance in the all-weary noons, 
And watches in the dead, the dark, when clocks 
Throbb'd thunder thro' the palace floors, or called 
On flying time from all their silver tongues — 
And out of memories of her kindlier days, 
And sidelong glances at my father's grief, 
And at the happy lovers heart in heart — 
And out of hauntings of my spoken love, 
And lonely listenings to my mutter'd dream, 
And often feeling of the helpless hands. 
And wordless broodings on the wasted cheek — 
From all a closer interest flourished up 
Tenderness touch by touch, and last, to these, 

The long contest between life and death is at length decided 
in favor of life. The Prince returns to consciousness ; dis- 
covers the new-born affection of his mistress ; converses 
eloquently with her on the true position, office, destiny of 
woman, mixing old-world with high anticipations of a 


brighter future : when the curtain drops, and a brief " Epi- 
logue," carrying out the action of the " Prologue," brings the 
work to a conclusion. 

A large part of the critical objections urged against "The 
Princess" relate to the person of the heroine. Her character 
is charged with inconsistency : "a virago in the progress of 
the work, she appears at the close in all the modesty and soft- 
ness of her sex : the reader is offended at the outset by her 
severity, by the self-will and obstinacy which she shows ; and 
afterwards, when the metamorphosis occurs, when the lioness 
becomes the lamb, he feels the mcredulus odi, he cannot trust 
the transformation." This criticism is not wholly without 
foundation : yet we feel that it mistakes the earlier phase of 
Ida's character. The delineation of the poet shows us a being 
strong in will, with great energy and great persistency, but 
not destitute of gentleness or tenderness. A generous feeling 
forms the very basis of her faults. It is not pride and ambi- 
tion which urge her to engage in her great enterprise for ele- 
vating woman : it is the view of wrong, of the weaker suffer- 
ing from the injustice of the stronger, of female degradation 
and oppression — evils which the poet in his reconciling con- 
clusion acknowledges as real : " these were the rough ways of 
the world till now" — evils which we must all deplore in the 
past, whatever we may think as to the proper remedy for the 
future. Personally she is not affected by these evils ; her 
station places her above their reach : but, full of generous 
sympathy, she dedicates her life to the redress of injuries of 
which others are the victims. Surely there is nothing very 
vixenish in this. She has indeed her theory as to the way in 
which her objects are to be effected : a method of her own, a 
grand catholicon for social maladies. It is her college, on 
which she has "toiled and wrought and thought ; " with which 
she has become identified in all her feelings, hopes, and wishes. 
This scheme of hers she comes to regard with the natural 
fondness of a projector : and now doubtless pride of opinion, 
ambitious longings for the triumph of her principles and plans, 
appear among the motives (3( her conduct. Still, the noble 
object which at first attracted her is never absent from her 
mind : a high enthusiasm flashes through mists of vanity and 


selfishness, which dim but cannot hide its splendor. If shcr is 
severe against all that menaces her darling scheme, it is not 
alone because the scheme is hers, but because it involves to 
her view a millennium of happiness. The faults of the Princess 
illustrate, as they were certainly intended to illustrate, the 
havoc which devotion to a theory may work in the best nature. 
The reader is made to feel that they are not essential -elements 
of the character, but excrescences upon it, the noxious growth 
.of a mistaken system. The poet exposes them with con- 
scientious love of truth ; but at the same time shows us here 
and there many traits of natural amiable feeling, which pre- 
pare us for his heroine's last development, and make us ready 
to believe the Prince, when he says — 

" Ere seen I loved, and loved thee seen, and saw 
Thee woman thro' the crust of iron moods 
That mask'd thee from men's reverence up, and forced 
Sweet love on pranks of saucy boyhood." 

Thus, for instance, speaking of the Prince, she says — 

" To nurse a blind ideal like a girl, 
Methinks he seems no better than a girl : 
As girls were once, as we ourselves have been : 
We had our dreams j perhaps he mixt with them :" 

and shortly after, — 

" Yet will we say for children, would they grew 
Like field flowers everywhere ! we like them well — 
Children — that men may pluck them from our hearts, 
Kill us with pity, break us with ourselves — 
O — children — there is nothing upon earth 
More miserable than she that has a son 
And sees him err." 

When the Lady Psyche is forced from college precincts, 
her infant daughter is retained : — 

" For this lost lamb (she pointed to the child) 
Our mind is changed : we^ssume it to ourselves." 

After the tournament, when urged by friend and foe to restore 
the child, she thus addresses it : — 


"Pretty bud! 
Lily of the vale ! half opened bell of the woods ! 
Sole comfort of my dark hour, when a world 
Of traitorous friend and broken system made 
No purple in the distance, mysterj', 
Pledge of a love not to be mine, farewell ; 
These men are hard upon us as of old ; 
We two must part : and yet how fain was I 
To dream thy cause embraced in mine, to think 
I might be something to thee, when I felt 
Thy waxen warmth about my milkless breast 
In the dead prime." 

Even in her more heroic strain, the attentive reader will 
discern a something not altogether natural, a nerving of the 
heart to heavy toils and painful sacrifices, an inward struggle 
to stifle softer feelings because their indulgence seems incon- 
sistent with the claims of solemn duty. She is apparently 
forcing herself on to a hardness alien from her real character, 
but regarded as essential to her arduous enterprise. Hence 
when circumstances come to modify her views, and a new 
passion springs up in her heart, and the fanaticism, noble but 
mistaken, of a narrow system passes away, the reader is not 
surprised to witness the full blossoming of a tenderness, the 
germs of which he had before seen, chilled but not destroyed 
by the frosts of theory and prejudice. The irrepressible 
passion of her lover, and the hearty fondness o£ her stout 
brother Arac have made him feel from the first that there 
must be something truly lovable about her. This feeling of 
his gains confirmation from her generous sacrifices for the 
good of others, from the honest enthusiasm which animates 
her most unwomanly words and actions ; it is strengthened 
into certainty by the beautiful and natural expressions which 
from time to time force their way out against all opposition ; 
and it has its full realization in the final purified and softened 
development of her character. 

Some are displeased with the pedantry, as they call it, of 
the Princess, and vote her an intolerable blue. It is no 
wonder, certainly, that one shut out from the ordinary 
objects of attention and pursuit among her sex should seek 
to fill their place by science : especially as a severer mental 


discipline is an important feature in her favorite scheme. 
That it should figure in her conversation follows from the 
same conditions. What has she left to talk of but her studies 
and her plans ? Her principal theme, however, is not science, 
- but social regeneration : she is not a pedant, but a reformer. 
She is eloquent on woman's rights, their violation in the past, 
their vindication in the future : and if when discoursing on 
these topics she falls into the style of a lecturer or haranguer, 
it is only a natural result of her theory, and well illustrates 
the inherent opposition of that theory to true womanly 
decorum. Yet here, it must be owned, we find a serious 
difficulty, belonging to the subject of the poem and insepa- 
rable from it, one which the poet himself must have felt most 
keenly : how to engage his heroine in this Amazonian move- 
ment without unsexing her, without making her unfeminine, 
and so breaking the charm with which she was to be invested. 
His success in the attempt, if not complete, seems to be as 
nearly so as the nature of the case admits. It should not be 
forgotten that the prime mover in the business is the Lady 
Blanche, an artful, selfish, and ambitious dowager, who re- 
ceives charge of the girl Princess after her mother's death, and 
by her talents and acquirements has gained an ascendency 
over her pupil's mind. With her the college scheme 
originates, designed of course solely for her own aggrandize- 
ment. Working on Ida's lively sympathies and taking 
advantage of her inexperience, she enlists her in the under- 
taking, which once undertaken her own force of character 
and sanguine temper, and withal her natural pride, will not 
allow her to abandon, will not allow her even to weigh in the 
balance of an impartial judgment. 

The two collaborators of the Princess serve admirably as 
foils, to show the superiority of their head. Lady Blanche 
is hollow and heartless, plausible in appearances, false in 
professions, governed in all by sordid motives. Lady Psyche 
on the other hand is swayed by personal attachment ; it is 
her affection for the Princess which has led her to embark in 
the grand enterprise : she has mdced some understanding of 
its objects and a certain sympathy for them ; but there is no 
.basis of principle, no disposition to suffer martyrdom for the 


cause in which she is engaged, though for the person of her 
mistress she would wilHngly endure it. The Princess Ida 
alone has a genuine enthusiasm founded on a firm conviction ; 
she is sustained through difficulty and danger by an unshaken 
faith in the goodness of her cause ; she believes strongly and 
therefore acts strongly ; she rises before us in the dignity of a 
superior nature, great in its excellences, great even in its 

The poem abounds in trios ; the most distinctly drawn, and 
altogether the most striking, being the lady-trio just de- 
scribed. But we have again the three brothers of the 
Princess, the invincible Arac and the doughty twins — 
*' foriisqzie Gyas fortisque 67f7^/////«5 "— ^undistinguished in 
character, and serving only as opposites in tournament to the 
Prince and his companions. Here in this suitor-trio, on the 
other hand, we find more marked diversity. 

" That morning in the presence-room I stood 
With Cyril and with Florian, my two friends : 
The first a gentleman of broken means 
(His father's fault), but given to starts and bursts 
Of revel ; and the last, my other heart, 
My shadow, my half-self, for still we moved 
Together, kin as horse's ear and eye." 

Cyril is a light sketchy character, but drawn with great 
spirit. His unfailing gayety, his careless humor, the mask of 
recklessness which he contrives to throw over a nature honest 
and honorable at bottom, remind us strongly of the dashing 
heroes of Beaumont and Fletcher. As for Florian, he is a 
mere double to the Prince, convenient in the conduct of the 
plot, but without any striking specialty of mind and char- 

The Prince himself has failed of satisfying critics. His 
character has been censured as at once meagre and incon- 
sistent. On the one hand, it is urged that there is nothing 
distinctive about him, no individual traits, no personal 
peculiarities : he is a mere stpck hero of romance. But we 
should be careful lest we exact too much. What more can 
justly be demanded of a young Prince than that he be frank 
and generous and faithful, brave and gentle, beautiful and 


loving ? Do not these qualities suffice to constitute a noble 
character ? do they not afford fair augury for a good life and 
glorious actions ? " True, but then they are too common : 
we find them in every novel : in a great poem we have the 
right to claim and to expect something different." But this 
wide diffusion of the character only proves that it awakens 
universal interest, and is therefore well suited to the purposes 
of romantic fiction. Such a hero, it should seem, forms in 
general the most convenient centre for the various figures 
and actions of the piece. Nor is it right to quarrel with the 
character for its ideal perfection, to claim that for the sake of 
variety it should be made crafty, irascible, or garrulous ; as 
well might you quarrel with the symmetry of an Apollo 
Belvedere, and insist on giving it a more marked -appearance 
by the truncation of the nose or the elongation of the 

But the Prince, again, equally with his betrothed, stands 
accused of inconsistency. ** He starts, a boy, a mere love- 
sick boy, who steals disguised and undetected into a female 
college, who finds no difficulty in passing himself off for a 
woman : yet anon we see him tilting in the lists, a champion 
of no mean note : soon, recovering from protracted sickness, 
he appears mature in mind, a poet-sage, uttering maxims of 
profoundest wisdom." As regards the question whether it 
is physically possible for one who could successfully disguise 
himself in woman's weeds to bear his part with honor in the 
deadly conflict of the tourney, we shall not presume to de- 
cide. We are content with referring to the martial heroines 
of Tasso and Ariosto, whose exploits seem to prove that, 
whether true or not in actual life, in the imaginary world of 
the romancer such a thing is not impossible. And in the 
same imaginary world, the act of donning such disguise 
assumed for no base end may be looked upon as little worse 
than what our Prince himself has called it, "a prank of saucy 
boyhood." The effervescence of a frolic humor, it does not of 
necessity imply a want of manly energy or honorable feeling. 
It is not inconsistent even with that noble peroration ; in 
which, however, let it be observed, the quality most promi- 
nent is not hoary-headed wisdom, but truth of natural feeling. 


The Prince's ideal of woman is founded on the example of a 
mother, "who was mild as any saint, and almost canonized 
by all she knew, so gracious was her tact and tenderness ; " 
and whatever such a model could not furnish would be 
readily supplied by the instincts and the experience of a 
loving heart. Thus inspired and guided may our hero, 
without incurring the charge of wisdom beyond his years, 
bi^ak out into a strain of poetry, which we cannot deny 
ourselves the pleasure of quoting : — 

' ' For woman is not undevelopt man. 
But diverse : could we make her as the man, 
Sweet love were slain, whose dearest bond is this, 
Not like to like, but like in difference ; 
Yet in the long years liker must they grow : 
The man be more of woman, she of man ; 
He gain in sweetness and in moral height. 
Nor lose the wrestling thews that throw the world ; 
She mental breadth, nor fail in childward care : 
More as the double-natured poet each : 
Till at the last she set herself to man. 
Like perfect music unto noble words." 

" And this proud watchword rest 

Of equal ; seeing either sex alone 

Is half itself, and in true marriage lies 

Nor equal, nor unequal : each fulfils 

Defect in each, and always thought in thought, » 

Purpose in purpose, will in will, they grow, 

The single pure and perfect animal, 

The two-cell'd heart, beating with one full stroke 


But the objections take a wider range. Much is said of the 
improbability — worse than that, the impossibility and sheer 
absurdity of the story, which, as no one can suppose it true, 
or make it real to his mind, is declared unfit to awaken inte- 
rest and call forth sympathy. We cannot deny our skepti- 
cism as to the occurrences narrated in " The Princess : " we do 
not find them in the history of past or present, nor do we look 
for them in the developments of the future. And doubtless, 
were we closely questioned, we should be forced to make a 
similar admission as to the Orlando Furioso and the Midsum- 
mer Night's Dream, poems which are nevertheless acknowl- 


edged to possess high poetic excellence. The truth is, that 
the probability required in such a work is not absolute but 
relative ; it is a probability founded in the assumptions of the 
author. Is the work adequately motived? does it contain the 
power necessary for its own propulsion ? do the forces given 
at the outset, with those afterwards brought in, harmonize in 
all their operation ? will their united action account suffici- 
ently well for the effects described ? We have a right indeed 
to claim, as this statement obviously implies, that the forces 
shall be generally intelligible, such as we can understand and 
feel the meaning of: they must have a true relation to our 
common nature ; they must be consistent with the Universal 
principles that govern human conduct. But the particular 
conditions under which they are to act are left to the fancy 
or the judgment of the poet. If you would form a critical 
estimate of " The Princess," assume the external conditions of 
the work. Do not concern yourself about the situation of the 
northern and southern kingdoms : take them for granted. 
Do not be surprised that woman's rights have come to be 
acknowledged even in princely halls,: assume the fact of such 
a recognition. Do not vex your mind with the manifold ob- 
stacles which hinder the organization of a female college : 
leave them to the Princess Ida, and suppose them happily sur- 
mounted.- But inquire whether, on the given conditions, the 
enthusiasm of the Princess, her ardor in the prosecution of a 
great moral work, her attachment to a system of agencies re- 
garded as the necessary means of its accomplishment — whether 
these motives operating on a nature such as hers are not suf- 
ficient to account for her conduct. Let the same method be 
extended to all the persons and actions of the poem. "W^ 
are persuaded that the result of such a criticism would be to 
weaken very much the charges of improbability, so often 
loosely brought against our author's plot. 

It is said, however, that we cannot thus accept the external, 
conditions of the work, because they are inconsistent in them- 
selves ; presenting an aggregate of incongruities, a cabinet of 
curiosities filled with ill-assorted specimens frorn every time 
and country, a confused mass of forms, principles, ideas such 
as never have been and never can be united in the actual 


world. This view of the poem is strongly stated by an able 
critic in the North British Review for May, 1848 : — 

" ' The Princess ; a Medley,' upon the first reading has a very curious 
effect. It is so thoroughly ' a medley,' its heterogeneousness is so com- 
plete, that we wonder how any mind should have been able to escape the 
apparently inevitable continuity with which feelings and ideas suggest 
themselves. Tragedy, comedy, love, satire, the old and the new, mo- 
dern conventionalisms and outrageous fancies, all contrarieties come 
together, and at first appear to clash." 

And again, after a synopsis of the story : — 

" There are numerous other instances and characters, all wonderfully 
elaborated, which we have not noticed because they have no connection 
whatever with the main plot : but, had we done so, we should still have 
fallen far short of giving the reader a notion of the utter want of interest, 
unity, and purpose in this production, considered merely as a narrative 
poem ; and of its miserable weakness and want of integrity, if regarded, as 
some regard it, as a satire upon learned women. Now by regarding it as 
neither the one nor the other, and attributing to it some significance of 
which the incidents and characters are merely syTnbolical expressions, 
we at once do away with an overwhelming amount of difficulty and con- 
tradiction, and are enabled to reconcile its composition with the quality 
of Mr. Tennyson's genius." * 

If this were so, the work might perhaps pass for a tolerable 
allegory or enigma ; but it would be a wretched poem. It 
could advance no claim to be regarded as a work of art : for 
art can never be indifferent to outward form ; it requires not 
merely a unity of idea, but a certain order, proportion, and 
harmony in the symbols by which ideas are represented. 
The fantastic painting in the Ars Poetica would still be a mis- 
erable picture, though you should give it symbolical signifi- 
cance, and show that the intellectual objects denoted by the hu- 
man head, the horse's neck, and the various plumage stand 4n 
the most natural relation to each other. On the other hand, let 
men, birds, and horses be grouped together in a painting 
which has consistency and beauty, and we recognize the merit 
of the picture without much reference to its spiritual meaning. 
A certain degree of coherence is essential even to the allegory : 
we should have been displeased with Bunyan, if his Pilgrim 
had appeared as a monkey or a mouse, in order to adumbrate 
some moral transformation. 


There is no difficulty in admitting that our author in his 
present work intended to portray the passing time in many of 
its aspects. This design is clearly indicated in his Prologue, 
and it accords well with the views expressed in numerous pas- 
sages of his earlier poems. He is by no means one of those 
poets who live wholly in the ideal world. He is alive to all 
that is living and stirring around him ; watches with eager in- 
terest the great progress of thought and knowledge and action ; 
and stamps upon his works the fire-new impress of the current 
day. He not merely appreciates the present, but delights in 
it, as the grand result of all past ages, rich in the spoils of 
time, in its own acquisitions, and still more in " the promise 
that it closes." He does not reclaim in impotent vexation 
against a progress which he cannot check : but welcomes in 
every hour " a bringer of new things ; " acknowledges that 
" meet is it changes should control our being, lest we rot in 
ease ; " holds it " better men should perish one by one, than 
that earth should stand at gaze like Joshua's moon in Ajalon ; " 
and kindling with enthusiasm cries, " Forward, forward let us 
range : let the nations spin forever down the ringing grooves 
of change." That the works of such a poet should present 
manifold reflections of the present age can occasion no sur- 
prise. Many passages of " The Princess" are direct expres- 
sions of ideas, principles, and feelings peculiar to our own 
time. In many instances he has made use of representative 
forms : that is, he has taken some particular phenomenon, and 
made it stand for a large class of similar phenomena to which 
it is related. This is especially the case with his " university 
for maidens," which may be viewed as representing a multi- 
tude of rampant radicalisms. All this, however, is very differ- 
ent from that continuous allegory, that perpetual succession of 
metaphors, embracing every detail of the poem, which our 
Scottish contemporary assumes, though he candidly admits 
his inability to interpret the greater part of them : — 

" Let us frankly confess that an unusually careful study of this poem 
has not enabled us to discover any such distinct connection between the 
greater portion of its details, and what we conceive to be the central 
thought ; upon which, if the poem be a truly artistical work, they must 
every one of them depend for their primary meaning and value. Very 


many are the thoughts, allusions, traits of character and incidents, the 
true meaning of which we seem to perceive fully : very many appear to 
us to possess only some half-perceived capacity of application to the cen- 
tral thought : but very many more have proved too enigmatical for our 
patience or our powers." 

We hardly know why the critic should have given up these 
latter points. A writer intent on this sort of interpretation, 
and gifted with a tolerable share of ingenuity, can have little 
difficulty in educing meaning out of any text ; he can even find 
for the same l^xt as many meanings as Swedenborgians at- 
tribute to the words of Scripture. But the whole attempt 
strikes us as a profitless expenditure of thought, by which no- 
thing like certainty could ever be attained. It is a wander- 
ing through labyrinthine forests with an ignis fatuus for your 
only guide. The work v.^hich cannot be justified except by 
such a guess-work process may be pronounced, in the lan- 
guage of debating societies, "wholly unjustifiable." Davus 
sum, Hon CEdipiis. We shall wait till the author publishes a 
key to his own riddle-book, before we meddle with its puzzles ; 
before we concede that it was designed by the author and is to 
be treated by the critic only as a puzzle. 

It cannot be denied that the poem shows in different parts 
a difference of tone and coloring. The author himself ad- 
mits the fact in his " Epilogue : " — 

" Here closed our compound story, which at first 
Perhaps but meant to banter little maids 
With mock-heroics and with parody : 
But slipt in some strange way, crost with burlesque, 
- From mock to earnest, even into tones 
Of tragic, and with less and less of jest." 

This mixing up of grave and gay, serious and mirthful, tra- 
gedy and comedy, has given some offence, and in the judg- 
ment of the ingenious critic quoted above can only be de- 
fended on the ground of allegorical significance. Would he say 
the same of the Midsummer Night's Dream, or Hamlet Prince 
of Denmark ? The example of our great dramatist has shown 
that the close association of the tragic and the comic, which 
so constantly presents itself in real life, is not inadmissible in 


the creations of art ; that they may aid each other as the 
hghts and shadows of a picture ; that the Hghter portions are 
useful to reHeve the eye, while by contrast they throw the 
dark into still deeper gloom. And whether it be correct ap- 
preciation or misjudging fondness we know not ; but in this 
poem of Tennyson's, it appears to us that the two elements, 
so far from neutralizing one another, are blended into harmony, 
and receive each a heightened beauty from their union. 

After all that may be said about the absurdity and inco- 
herence of the story, it certainly produces th^impression of 
reality in a degree 'which, when the nature of the incidents is 
considered, must be thought truly wonderful. So vividly and 
- clearly does the poet delineate the creatures of his fancy that 
we cannot help viewing them as actual existences. We find 
ourselves sympathizing with the Prince, and wishing him suc- 
cess in his arduous suit. We feel the rush of breathless ex- 
pectation in the hot melee of the tourney. We wait anxiously 
the turn of fate beside the sick-bed of the wounded lover. 
We give him our heartiest congratulations on his eventual 
recovery and success. It is only when we set ourselves to 
criticizing that we are struck with the improbability of that 
which moved us, and become ashamed of our former feelings. 
In no former production has the author succeeded in giving 
so much the air of reality to the objects of his imagination ; 
nor has he shown in any one so much delicacy and distinct- 
ness in the delineation of character. 

The poetry of our day has been almost exclusively lyrical. 
Moving hotly and hurriedly in the career of politics, or swal- 
lowed up in business, or prosecuting science with a zeal and 
success never before paralleled, we have found no time for 
lengthened poems. Only now and then could we snatch a 
moment for a brief utterance of feelings which belong to 
human nature, and can never be utterly lost even in the mad- 
dest vortices of life. As for great constructive poems, vast 
systems of narrative, meditation, and description, built up in 
the deeps of an ideal w^orld, they have well-nigh disappeared. 
In America, where the influences that their construc- 
tion are the strongest, we have nothing of the kind ; our poets 
have to a singular extent been song-writers ; while the occa- 


sional attempts which we have seen in epic and dramatic com- 
position have been generally unsuccessful. Yet this has been 
almost equally the case in England. What long poem of any 
note has appeared there since the " Excursion ? " and what is 
the Excursion itself but a long lyric ? — no narrative of action ; 
no development of character ; no plot or story ; no complica- 
tion of incidents ; no catastrophe or denouement j no unity, but 
that of a rosary ; a series of lyrical exercises, for the most part 
didactic, strung loosely on the very slightest thread of story. 
Byron wrote narrative poems of som^ length ; but his genius 
was essentially lyrical. The plots of his Corsair, Lara, Giaour, 
etc. , will not stand the lightest touch of criticism ; barren and 
confused, they serve only as openings for fine description or 
eloquent declamation. Nor does Don Juan in the aimless ' 
ramblings of its hero show anything more of constructive 
power. In Southey's epics, if we may use a name which the 
poet himself rejected with contempt, we find our best recent 
specimens of epic art. Yet we know not how the critics who 
blame "The Princess" for its inconsequences and improba- 
bilities could defend the grotesque wonders of " Thalaba 
the Destroyer" or the " Curse of Kehama." Is it said that 
these are to be tolerated as forms of actual belief, importa- 
tions from Pantheons of mythologies currently received among 
our fellow-men ? But how does that lessen the incredulity 
with which we look upon such wild and monstrous fictions ? 
Or would the college of the Princess Ida seem to us one whit 
more probable, could we find some Hottentot or Eskimo who 
held it for undoubted verity ? And again, tlie inconsistency 
arising from a mixture of incompatible ideas, which is urged 
against Tennyson, may be charged with equal justice on the 
elder poet, who has by no means treated the religions of 
India and Arabia in the spirit of their devotees, but has al- 
lowed the notions and feelings of the Christian to appear 
among the symbols of the Mohammedan and the Brahman. 
It may be thought, however, that in naming his work " a 
Medley" the poet has given up the whole point ; that he has 
decided the question, and decided it against himself. But the 
name indicates no more than the widely diverse character of 
the materials employed in the building of his work ; it can- 


not be justly construed as a confession that no care was used 
in the selection, and no art in the arrangement. And if a 
writer modestly apply a slighting name to his own production, 
we should not press the circumstance against him. It is not 
to be supposed that an artist such as Mr. Tennyson has 
shown himself to be would inflict a mere medley on the pub- 
lic. He would feel it beneath himself to waste the treasures 
of his fancy and the classic riches of his diction on a heap of 
unconnected, aimless, and incongruous absurdities. Nor 
would he consent to forfeit a well-earned reputation by bring- 
ing such a work, were he even capable of writing it, before 
the bar of intelligent criticism. We may rest assured that 
there is some point of view from which the poem will appear 
as other than a medley ; from which we shall be able, not 
perhaps to justify the composition in all particulars, for the 
highest genius must still fall short of absolute perfection ; 
but to comprehend at least how it was possible for a man of 
genius to be the author of such a composition. 

Mr. Tennyson has evidently taken extraordinary pains with 
the construction of his verse. He seems to have felt that a 
single measure running through a long poem must of neces- 
sity become monotonous and wearisome, unless great care be 
taken to diversify its rhythm. He may have thought also 
that a narrative piece, where the poet must rely less upon the 
thought and more upon the form than in other species of 
poetical composition, requires peculiarly the aid of metrical 
resources. Certain it is that, in affluence of means and in 
variety of effects, the blank verse of "The Princess" surpasses 
all its author's previous attempts in the same kind of measure ; 
nor would it be easy to find its equal in these respects since 
the time of Milton. To the versification of the Paradise Lost, 
the greatest exemplar of versification in the English language, 
Mr. Tennyson, it is clear, has given no little attention ; and 
from this poem, and from the older English poetry in general, 
he has adopted many rhythmical and metrical expedients — 
liberties or licenses, as they are sometimes called — which the 
too finical taste of later times, and the undue passion for uni- 
formity, have generally discarded. Among these we mention 
the so called elision — more truly, the blending of a final vowel 


with the vowel initial of a following word into a single syllable, 
or at least what passes for such in tjie rhythm. Thus we 
have — 

* ' That made the old warrior from his ivied nook 
Glow like a sunbeam." 

** The violet varies from the lily as far 
As 'oak from elm." 

**0 Swallow, Swallow, if\ could folloiv, ««// light 
Upon her lattice." 

So, too, where the second word begins with a weak conso- 
nant easily elided in pronunciation : — 

" Fly to her, and pipe and woo her, and make her mine." 
" You must not slay him : he risked his life for ours." 

The same fusion occurs often in a single word, and not only 
in such forms as lovelier, sapience, etc. , where all our poets 
have employed it, but in many instances where the last two 
centuries have renounced its use. Thus, in the following 
lines, the words seeing, crying, highest go for monosyllables 
in the rhythm : — 

"And Cyril seeing it, push'd against the Prince." 
" Some crying there was an army in the land." 
"And highest among the statues, statue-like." 

The combinations' in the, of the, etc. , are often treated as 
filling but one rhythmical place : — 

" Better have died, and spilt our bones in the flood." 
" Poets, whose thoughts enrich the blood of the world." 
. " When the man wants weight, the woman takes it up." 

In many instances a short syllable is neglected — that is, does 
not count as forming by itself a place in the metre. In the 
following quotation, the words enemy, general, soluble are 
treated as dissyllables : — 

" Now she lightens scorn 
At the enemy of her plan, but then would hate 
The general foe. More soluble is the knot." 


Especially does this occur where a short final syllable is fol 
lowed by a word beginning with a vowel : — 

" A palace in our own land, where you shall reign." 
"A tent oi satin, elaborately wrought." 

We could distinguish other cases, in which a reader unfa- 
miliar with the earlier English rhythms might be offended by 
supernumerary syllables : but to enter upon long details would 
perhaps be more tedious than profitable. In none of these 
instances, if we may judge of Mr. Tennyson's pronunciation 
from his way of writing, would he omit a syllable in reading : 
nor does the rhythm of the verse (let metrical doctors, like 
Mr. Guest, say what they please about it) require of us the 
use of any such expedient. Yet, as the same word or combi- 
nation may receive in different places a. different metrical ar- 
rangement, the reader, unless he proceeds with unusual fore- 
sight, will sometimes be obliged to take a new start and try 
it over again. This difficulty might be obviated by the use 
of some appropriate notation ; the elisions and apostrophes of 
the old books are of course objectionable, if nothing is to be 
elided ; but it is much to be wished that some method might 
be substituted for them, to make the proper mode of reading 
obvious at first sight. 

The poem presents us with many passages in which the 
rhythm is very studiously adapted to the sense. In some of 
these perhaps the thing is overdone ; but in most the effect 
is admirable. We instance the following fine exhibition of 
" the pomp and circumstance of glorious war: " — 

" They made a halt ; 
The horses yell'd ; they clashed their arms ; the drums 
Beat ; merrily blowing shrill'd the martial fife ; 
And in the blast and bray of the long horn 
And serpent-throated bugle, undulated 
The banner ; anon to meet us lightly pranced 
Three Captains out." 

The overwhelming onset of Prince Arac is described in 
verses not unfit for the exploits of divine Achilles : — 



" But that large-moulded man 
Made at me thro' the press, and staggering back 
With stroke on stroke the horse and horseman, came 
As comes a pillar of electric cloud. 
Flaying off the roofs and sucking up the drains, 
And shadowing down the champaign till it strikes 
On a wood, and takes, and breaks, and cracks, and splits. 
And twists the grain with such a roar that the earth 
Reels, and the herdsmen cry ; for everything 
Gave way before him," 

■A waterfall is thus represented in words which address 
themselves at once to mind and sense : — 

" And up we came to where the river sloped 
To plunge in cataract, shattering on black blocks, 

A breadth of thunder." 


In the following p*sage, describing the rescue of the Prin- 
cess, the verse is managed with much art : — 

" There whirled her white robe like a blossom'd branch 
Rapt to the horrible fall : a glance I gave, 
No more ; but woman-vested as I was, 
Plunged y and the flood drew : yet I caught her J then 
Oaring one arm, and bearing in my left 
The weight of all the hopes of half the world, 
Strove to buffet to land in vain." 

The rhythm of the last line (which occurs quite frequently 
in the Paradise Lost) is admirably adapted to express la- 
borious and unsuccessful ■ effort. Not unlike it is the follow- 
ing :— 

" While now her breast. 
Beaten with some great passion at her heart, 
Palpitated, her hand shook, and we heard 
In the dead hush the papers that she held 

We are tempted to assume the same movement in another 
place : — 

" they to and fro 
Fluctuated as flowers in storm, some red, some pale" — 


and to suppose that the poet, intentionally or inadvertently, 
extended the line beyond the regular standard. It can be 
read indeed as a verse of five accents, but not without tak- 
ing from the aptness of the rhythm. Breathlessness is thus 
described : — ^ 

" And on a sudden ran in 
Among us, all out of breath, as pursued, 
A woman-post in flying raiment." 

In this instance, however, the poet seems to have been more 
ingenious than successful : the verse breaks down under his 
menage ; the line, as naturally read, has but four accents, and 
it is not without difficulty that the reader comes to under- 
stand the metrical intention of the writer. 

In his use of language Mr. Tennyson has shown himself in 
this work uncommonly adventurous ; btit he has in general 
adventured with a happy boldness. He abounds in striking 
novelties, in words, meanings, and constructions seldom or 
never found elsewhere ; and thus, it must be owned, pro- 
duces on the reader's mind a first impression that his style is 
more or less artificial and affected. On a second reading this 
impression for the most part disappears. Many phrases 
which at first seem quaint and odd are soon perceived to 
have a propriety and a beauty which justify their strangeness. 
We accept the language as the appropriate vesture of the 
thought, and feel that no other vesture would become it half 
so well. One thing certainly is true : the words, be they 
good, bad, or indifferent, are never the unmeaning substitutes 
for thought : they are always richly freighted with sense and 
sentiment. Mr. Tennyson is not one of those copious and 
fluent writers who can turn off" verses by the ream ; he has no 
patent machine for the manufacture of poetry. His compo- 
sitions are widely different from the voluminous and flimsy 
job work of literary artisans ; widely different, too, from the 
productions of many real artists, who are wont to use the best 
materials, but weave them hastily in thin and ill-compacted 
fabrics. Our recent poetry even of the better sort has been 
too generally written currente calamo ; in many cases it 
hardly mounts above the reach of a ready-witted improvisa- 


tore. You read it, possibly, wi^h interest and pleasure ; but 
it neither makes a definite impression on the mind, nor gains 
an abiding home in the memory. You may remember the 
subject of the work and something of its plot or course of 
thought ; but words and images and sentences are gone ; 
quotation is impossible. Seldom, too seldom, do you meet 
with expressions singularly felicitous, or lines which realize 
Coleridge's ideal, where every change conceivable would be 
a change for the worse ; or passages which seem like the 
spontaneous crystallization of great sentiments and principles ; 
or utterances which might make one think he heard the Muse 
herself pronouncing oracle^ for the instruction and delight of 
every coming age. It is a singular circumstance that Cole- 
ridge, who was so much of an improviser in his prose, should 
have been, almost alone among his contemporaries, so spar- 
ing and elaborate in his poetry. In Tennyson we see the 
same frugality of verse, the same studious care and conscien- 
tious toil in execution. He does not spread himself out upon 
paper, but brings his whole material within the narrowest 
compass. Far from dispersing 'the rays of his genius in di- 
vergent lines, he gathers them in luminous centres, which 
shine clear and bright like the stars. To one who writes in 
this way, each word becomes a matter of importance, a sub- 
ject for careful thought and nice selection. He cannot take 
whatever comes first or lies nearest ; he must ransack the 
treasury of language, to find that which will most aptly, 
tersely, forcibly express his meaning. Sometimes it may be 
an old-world word, which men have latterly forgotten, but 
may well bring back to memory ; sometimes a word from 
the living mintage of the poet's own brain, carrj-iiTg its warrant 
in its use and justly claiming place among the currency of 
older dates ; sometimes a colloquialism that deserves to be 
ennobled ; sometimes an expressive idiom coming from 
abroad, and naturalized with full rights of native citizenship. 
A style thus diligently selected and compacted can hardly 
fail to have a certain quaintness ; and some such quality may 
have been apparent, even from the first, in the writings of 
Spenser and Jonson and Milton. The time has been when 
it was regarded as the very beau ideal of style that it should 


resemble fashionable conversation. Fortunately, the feeling 
now-a-days is very different. We claim for conversation a 
freedom greater than it once enjoyed, and for writing a free- 
dom greater than we yield to conversation. We allow the 
writer to consult his own taste as to the colors and the 
fashions in which he shall present himself before the public. 
We do not regard even language itself as a thing inflexible 
and immutable, which all are to accept and use exactly alike. 
We acknowledge in the writer, especially in the man of genius, 
a certain power over language ; a right of origination, not to 
make himself unintelligible, but to make himself more in- 
telligible ; a right to share actively in that progress which, 
spite of all conservative resistance, is the inevitable condition 
of a living language, and the cessation of which proves a 
language to be really dead, unfit for the living use of Hving 




IT is well known that men of different times and nations 
have associated with particular numbers the idea of a pe- 
culiar significance and value. It is also well known that, of 
all numbers, there is no one which has exercised in this way 
a wider influence, no one which has commanded in a higher 
degree the esteem and reverence of mankind, than the num- 
ber Seven. The mystic preeminence of this sacred number 
is as ancient as it is venerable. It belongs to the simple 
wisdom of a primitive age. It had its native home in the 
East, near the springs of light and of day. True, we find it 
also in later times, and upon occidental ground, pervading 
the mind and literature of modern Europe. But we must 
remember that an Oriental book, an Asiatic book, the Sacred 
Scripture of the Hebrew, has leavened — may we not add 
that it has sevaied — the mind and literature of modern 
Europe. But before this influence began, before a new re- 
ligion coming into Europe from the East brought with 
it the Oriental feeling for the Seven, the case was widely 
different. Among the ancient Greeks and Romans, but 
little prominence upon the whole is given to this number. 
Let us look at the first great monuments of western literature, 
the poems of Homer. Here we find a number of sevens. 
Seven talents are more than once bestowed as a present. 
Seven tripods, seven women, and seven towns are among 
the gifts by which Agamemnon seeks to propitiate tlie 
enraged Achilles. Then there are seven ships of Philoctetes, 
seven brothers of Andromache, seven sons of Polyctor, seven 
gates of the Boeotian Thebes, seven layers of ox-hide in' the 

* Von Hammer-Purgstall, Ueber die Zahl Sieben. (Wiener Jahrbiicher der 
Xiterator. 1848. CXXII. 182-225. CXXIII. r— 54. CXXIV. 1—105.) 


impenetrable shield of Ajax, seven herds of cattle belonging 
to the sun-god Helios, seven roods of ground covered by the 
fallen war-god Ares. Seven years the murderer ^gisthus 
reigns upon the throne of Agamemnon ; seven years Ulysses 
is kept a prisoner by the fondness of the nymph Calypso ; 
seven years in his romancing story to Eumaeus he professes 
to have spent in Egypt. In four instances in the Odyssey, 
some action is described as continuing for six days and 
terminating on the seventh in some critical event— a curious 
circumstance, in which we might almost be tempted to trace 
either a dawning or a vanishing of the week. This is the list 
of Homeric sevens, nearly complete : it may appear some- 
what long ; but there are quite as many tens in Homer, and 
of twelves almost twice as many. In the Greek mythology 
— and it is the mythology of a nation that most faithfully 
reflects its early thinking and feeling — the Seven is quite rare, 
and is nearly confined to the worship of Apollo ; the Twelve 
again is greatly more important as a mythological number. 
From Greek philosophy, however, the Seven has received a 
more respectful attention. The Pythagoreans, who in general 
laid much stress upon the mystic properties of number, had a 
special regard for the seven. Thus Philolaus, the contempo- 
rary of Socrates, and the first to set forth, in writing, an 
extended exposition of Pythagorean doctrine, says concerning 
God, the author and governor of all things, that " he is with- 
out variation, ever like, himself and like no other, even as the 
number seven." But it will be recollected that Pythagoras, 
according to the general tradition, had travelled in the East, 
and was supposed to have drawn from thence, to a greater or 
less extent, the elements of his system. All have heard of 
the Seven Sages, or Wise Men of Greece ; men who, about 
six centuries before Christ, were highly distinguished among 
their contemporaries for wisdom and experience ; of whom 
the most celebrated were the Milesian Thales and the 
Athenian Solon. It may have been a philosopher who first 
conceived the idea of selecting out just seven such men to 
form the group. It is at any rate a philosopher— Plato, 
himself also a traveller in the East — who first gives us the 
seven names, selected out and grouped together. But the 


Seven in this case does not seem to have taken very strong 
hold of the Greek mind, or to have possessed inviolable 
sanctity ; for Dicaearchus substitutes ten sages for the seven, 
and Hermippus enumerates seventeen. Again, the idea of 
Seven Wonders of the World, which we find among the 
Greeks, appears to have originated in the East, with the 
Egyptian Greeks of Alexandria. One of the seven wonders 
belongs to Alexandria itself, the light-house in its bay. A 
second is also Egyptian, the pyramids. Of the remaining 
five, only one is European, the statue of Zeus at Olympia ; 
while four are Asiatic — the Ephesian temple of Diana, the 
Mausoleum of Artemisia, the Colossus at Rhodes, and the 
hanging gardens of Babylon. The conquests of the Mace- 
donians, and after them the Romans in the East, the wide 
dispersion of the Jews, and, following that, the still wider 
diffusion of Christianity, all had the eflfect of acquainting the 
European mind more and more with Oriental ideas. And 
hence it comes that, in the centuries after Christ, we find a 
large number even of heathen writers who render homage to 
the sacredness and dignity of the Seven. We will not dwell 
upon them here ; but will rather turn to lands where a vener- 
ation for the Seven appears unborrowed and original. We 
will look first to the far East, to the banks of the Indus and 
the Ganges, to the votaries of the Brahman reli|^ion. 

According to the conceptions of the Indians, Mount Meru, 
the sacred mountain of the gods, is surrounded by the seven 
rocks called Cakravarta, rising in the mystic regions of the 
atmosphere. Indra, the great lord of the sky, governs by 
seven vice-kings the seven regions of the heaven. Agni, 
the god of fire, is thus addressed in one of the sacred books : 
" Seven are thy fuels, seven thy tongues, seven thy holy 
sages, sev^en thy favorite haunts, in seven ways thy worship- 
pers adore thee, seven are thy sources ; be graciously content 
with thy clarified butter ! " The sun has his seven rays, 
which are themselves described as suns, and pour down their 
sevenfold heat on the torrid land of the Hindu. The earth 
itself has its seven Dvipas, seven islands encompassed by as 
many seas — the seas of milk, sugar, honey, salt, salt water, 
sour water, and butter. Over it blow the winds, Maruts, 


seven times seven in number. The earth is renewed every 
seven thousand years, or, as others hold, every seven times 
seven thousand. There are seven Apsaras or nymphs of 
Paradise ; seven Saktis, or incarnated attributes of the divin- 
ity ; seven Rishis, or holy sages ; seven Munis, or holy 
hermits. These last are not unknown to Christendom : at 
least, the name of holy recluses might be given with propriety 
to our old frierlds, the seven sleepers of Ephesus. All have 
heard the story : how, in the great persecution under Decius, 
seven Christian youths fled for refuge to a mountain near the 
city of Ephesus, and there hid themselves in a cave. They 
slept during the night without disturbance, and woke, as they 
supposed, on the following morning. Venturing out, after 
some time, to obtain provisions, they attracted notice by 
their uncouth garb and appearance. Having purchased what 
they wanted, they offered in payment some strange-looking 
antique coins. Suspicion was aroused, and they were 
brought before a magistrate. They then told their story, 
from which it appeared that the supposed night's sleep had 
lasted well-nigh two centuries. The bishop Martin was 
called in, and even the emperor Theodosius II., brought by 
express from Constantinople ; in whose presence they re- 
peated their narrative, and then, praising God, with the halo 
of sanctity visibly encircling them, gave up the ghost. The 
reader is not required to believe the story ; Earonius, the 
famous church historian, though he SAvallows a wagon-load 
of marvels, is squeamish as to this one. It is, indeed, almost 
as much a Mohammedan as a Christian tradition ; the Koran 
is all but the earliest authority w^e can quote for it. Even at 
this day the Ottoman navy is under the especial guardianship 
of the Holy Seven Sleepers ; and in sleepiness, if not in 
holiness, does credit to its sainted patrons. But again, the 
Brahman system has its seven paradises, and seven hells ; 
these re-appear in the religion of the Moslim, who, however, 
adds another paradise, on the ground that God's mercy ex- 
ceeds his vengeance. Nor are they unknown to Christendom. 
The celebrated Pico della Mirandola left among his manu- 
script remains a treatise on the seven heavens and the seven 
earths, and another on the seven places of hell. In a German 


poem of the middle ages {Wolkenstain), we find the 
cotplet — 

Das ist die Hell mil irem Slund, 

Darin luol siben Kamnter greulich sind erzund. 

That is hell with its pit of woe, 

Where in fearful flame seven chambers glow. 

It would be easy to extend this enumeration of Indian sevens. 
But the specimens already given will suffice ; especially as we 
are not in condition to determine how far they belong to the 
earlier forms of the Hindu religion, or what proportion they 
bear to other mythological numbers in the same system. Let 
us now turn westward to Central Asia, to the countries which 
formed the heart and strength of the ancient Persian empire. 
Here in ancient times the prevailing religion was that of Zo- 
roaster, which owns the Zend-Avesta for its Bible, and is pro- 
fessed at the present day only by the scanty remnants of the 
Parsees. The two ^reat divjnities of this religion are Ormuzd 
(Ahura-mazda), the divinity of light and good, on the one 
hand ; and, on the other, Ahriman (Angra-mainyus), the di- 
vinity of darkness and evil. Ormuzd is surrounded by his at- 
tendant spirits, the seven Amshaspands, who may be compared 
with the seven throne-angels, that, according to the book of 
Tobit, go in and out before the glory of the Holy One. Ahri- 
man in like manner has his court, composed of seven arch-devs 
or demons, whom, as regards the number, we might compare 
with the seven that haunted Mary of Magdala, or with the 
seven more wicked than himself, whom the evil spirit, after 
his restless wandering through the desert, took back with him 
to his former habitation, which he found ready, swept, and 
garnished — " and the last end of that man was worse than 
the first." 

The modern literature of Persia abounds in sevens. Native 
dictionaries enumerate above a hundred septenaries, groups of 
objects designated as the seven so-and-so. We will not under- 
take to name them. We could not say, what it would be most 
interesting to know about them, how far they have sprung out 
of the spontaneous feeling and invention of the Persian, or how 
far they are due to the Arabian influence, itself satnrated with 


sevens, which entered Persia with the reh'gion of Mohammed 
in the seventh century of our era. 

But let us proceed to ground which has for us the doubie in- 
terest of more famihar acquaintance and more sacred associa- 
tions. The preeminent importance of the number seven 
throughout the Bible is seen in the extraordinary frequency 
of its occurrence. It is found in the Old and New Testaments 
not less than three hundred and eighty-three times. This count 
includes the ordinal seventJi, as well as the compound seven- 
fold i but does not include the higher numbers which contain 
a seven, such as seventeen, twenty-seven, seventy, seven hun- 
dred, and the like. If, now, we count the sixes in the same 
way, we find them to be one hundred and eighteen. The 
eights counted in the same way are fifty-eight The sixes and 
the eights taken together amount only to one hundred and 
seventy-six, or less than one-half of the sevens. 

The preeminence of the Seven is a fact which meets us at the 
threshold of the Bible, in the first chapter of Genesis, or in what 
should be the first chapter. It is well known that an unfortu- 
nate blunder in the division has deprived the opening chapter 
of three verses which justly belong to it. The real break is af- 
ter the third verse of chapter ii. : for the fourth verse, so far 
from being connected with those before it, is the commence- 
ment of a distinct narrative, composed probably at a different 
time, and indeed, according to the opinion of many good Bibli- 
cal scholars, composed by a different writer. Now the first ac- 
count of the creation, as we find it in the opening chapter 
with the first three verses of the second, represents to us a 
sevenfold process, which occupies the first week of world-his- 
tory, and is made up of six successive acts of creation dis- 
tributed through six successive days, and terminated like the 
Hebrew week by a day of rest. It is indeed conceivable that 
in this account the sevenfold arrangement may belong rather 
to the form and drapery of the narrative than to its veritable 
-substance : and in fact we find no hint of it in the fourth, 
.fifth, sixth, and seventh verses of the second chapter, which 
also contain a separate account of the creation. Even thus it 
would remain true that a sevenfold arrangement was adopted 
for the jnore elaborate narrative which was to embody the 


great truth of an original divine creation ; and this circum- 
stance alone would be highly significant ; it would demon- 
strate the preponderant value given by the Hebrew mind to 
the week and to its number the Seven. Or, again, we may 
suppose with others that an actual week was spent in this 
way ; that, after an immeasurable past of geological mutations, 
of trilobites, ichthyosauri, and batrachians, when a new and 
nobler resident was to be introduced upon our planet, then 
its existing arrangements were thrown into temporary confu- 
sion, and a week was passed in fitting and furnishing it anew 
for the habitation of man. Such a view might perhaps be re- 
garded as still more honorable to the Seven. Or, yet 
again, with others, we might swell days till they assume 
the dimension of ages — seven ages, each with its own sep- 
arate record, written on the tablet of the earth, in characters 
which science has been able to decipher, and has found to be 
identical with the words of the Mosaic description. This 
view, it is clear, gives the highest exaltation to the Seven. 
For it makes geology a Seven, and so the mightiest of all 
sevens. It offers the crowning attestation of science to tl\e 
secular predominance of this majestic number. It is a view 
adopted by very eminent scientific men; with whose judg- 
ment we could not think of matching our own in a question of 
this nature. Yet we must not seem to glorify our subject at 
the expense of honest dealing. The confession must be made, 
that with the best wishes we have not been able to satisfy 
ourselves in regard to that view ; to be certain that it has a 
positive basis, that it is more than an ingenious and interest- 
ing speculation. If it were otherwise, if we could overcome 
our doubts on this head, then would we profess ourselves 
with a more unquestioning faith even than now, votaries of 
the world-regulating Seven. 

But let us proceed with the Old-Testament sevens. The 
Seven bears an important part in ritual observances. In many 
sacrifices the sprinkling of the blood was to be repeated seven 
times ; and in many we find seven mentioned as the number 
of the victims to be offered. But it is still more important in 
reference to holy times and seasons. Not only is the seventh 
day of the week honored as a Sabbath with perpetual remera- 


brance, but the seventh week of the year brings its festival, 
the Penteccst or fiftieth day : for it is separated from the Pass- 
over by forty-nine days, a week of weeks, and is therefore 
sometimes called the feast of weeks. So the seventh month 
has its festival, the feast of tabernacles, and its solemn fast too 
upon the tenth day, the great day of atonement. Again, 
there is a week of years terminating in the seventh or Sab- 
batical year, when the land was to cease from labdr and to lie 
untilled. And once more, after seven weeks of years, forty- 
nine years, came the great_fiftieth or Year of Jubilee. 

Returning to the book of Genesis, we find Noah command- 
ed to receive clean beasts and fowls into the ark by sevens. 
Seven days after this command the rain begins. Wearied 
with long imprisonment, Noah sends forth a dove, which 
returns, having found no rest for the sole of her foot. After 
seven days he sends her forth again, and she returns with an 
olive-leaf in her mouth. After seven days more he sends her 
forth the third time, and she returns to him no more. The 
patriarch Jacob, in his protracted courtship, after serving 
aeven years for the wife he did not want, was forced to 
serve another seven for the wife he wanted. In Pharaoh's 
dream interpreted by Joseph, there are seven fat kine and 
seven lean, the seven years of plenty and of famine. Seven 
years occur repeatedly as the duration of a famine. The 
one in Elisha's time lasts seven years, and among three al- 
ternative evils offered to David's option, one is a seven years' 
famine. The descendants of Jacob return at last to the land 
of their fathers, from which God had promised to drive out 
seven nations greater and mightier than they. In the siege 
of Jericho, the people for seven successive days march round 
the city, headed by seven priests blowing on seven rams' 
horns. Only on the seventh day they marched seven times 
round, and at the seventh time the priests blew, the people 
shouted, and the wall fell down flat. Samson, when he gave 
his riddle to the Philistines in Timnath, allov/ed them the 
seven days of his wedding feast to make out the solution. 
When the Philistines were endeavoring through Delilah to 
discover the secret of his prodigious strength, he first directed 
that they should bind him with seven green withs, and again 


that she should weave the seven locks of his head with the 
web. These methods were tried without success ; but when 
at last the seven locks were quite shaved off, his strength 
went from him ; in the well-known language of the hymn, he 
"shook his vain limbs with sad surprise, made feeble fight 
and lost his eyes." But it would be tedious to pursue this 
enumeration through the whole Bible. Let us pass on to 
notice a somewhat difterent class of cases. 

In numerous instances the Seven appears to be used, as 
we say a score or a dozen, for a large indefinite number. 
The great prominen'ce given to the Seven, and the, great 
respect in which it was held, made it natural that it should 
be used in this way. Thus in Daniel, the fiery furnace was 
to be heated for the three recusant Hebrews " one seven 
times more than it was wont to be heated." In Proverbs we 
are told that a just man falleth seven times and riseth up 
again. The Psalmist says, " Seven times a day do I praise 
thee because of thy righteous judgments." Apparently this 
was not intended for an exact numerical statement ; although 
being interpreted in that way it is relied upon as author- 
ity for the seven canonical hours of devotion ; prima (or 
prime), matutina (matin), tertia, sexta, nona (noon), vespera 
(vesper), and complcta. Lamech, who was, like Enoch, 
seventh from Adam, but in the line of Cain, says to his wives 
Adah and Zillah, " If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly 
Lamech seventy and sevenfold." And our Lord, when asked 
by Peter, "how oft shall my brother sin against me and I 
forgive him? till seven times?" replies, "I say not unto 
thee, until seven times, but until seventy times seven." 

But of all the inspired books, the last in the series, the 
Apocalypse, is the one which displays most frequently and 
prominently the mystic sacredness of the number seven. 
At the outset John addresses himself to seven churches in 
Asia, greeting them from the Lord and from the seven spirits 
which are before his throne. He describes his vision on the 
isle of Patmos, when he saw one like unto the Son of Man, 
in the midst of seven golden candlesticks, and holding in his 
right hand seven stars. The golden candlesticks are ex- 
plained as being the seven churches, and the seven stars the 


angels of those churches. In the following visions, a throne 
is set in heaven, and in the right hand of Him that sat on it 
is a book sealed with seven seals. Then a lamb with seven 
horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God 
sent forth into all the earth, takes the book and opens the 
seven seals one after another, the opening in each case being 
followed by different prodigies. When the seventh seal is 
opened, seven angels appear with seven trumpets, which 
they blow one after another, and the blowing is followed in 
each case by new prodigies. Before the seventh angel sounds, 
seven thunders utter their voices. Afterwards appears a 
dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns 
upon his heads : and anon a beast rising up out of the sea, 
also with seven heads and ten horns, but with ten crowns 
upon his horns. Again another sign in heaven great and 
marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues, who 
pour out one after another the seven vials of God's wrath 
upon the earth. Then is seen a woman seated on a scarlet 
colored beast which has seven heads, these being seven 
mountains on which the woman sitteth ; and it is added, 
there are seven kings, of whom five are fallen, and one is, 
and one is yet to come. In the last vision, that of the 
heavenly Jerusalem, the prevailing number is not seven but 
twelve, derived evidently from the twelve tribes of Israel. 
But with this exception seven is everywhere the prevailing 
number of the book ; so that, as Von Hammer-Purgstall ob- 
serves, there are two sevens in the greeting, seven churches 
and seven .spirits ; and in the body of the work there are 
found besides two sevens of sevens : viz. , first, seven candle- 
sticks, stars, seals, horns, eyes, trumpets, thunders ; and 
second, seven angels, heads, crowns, plagues, vials, moun- 
tains, kings. 

Such being the rank and dignity of the number Seven 
throughout the Bible, it is not surprising that the nations of 
Christendom, with whom the Bible is at once the best known 
and most revered of all books, should have attached special 
importance to the number. Illustrations of this fact, drawn 
from the literature of modern Europe, might be multiplied 
to almost any extent. But I shall confine myself to a single 


author, one who may be regarded with more propriety than 
any other as the representative of modern European Htera- 

The following are specimens of the Shakspearian sevens. 
In the Merchant of Venice (II. 9), the Prince of Arragon, 
who comes as a suitor for the hand of Portia, having unfor- 
tunately for himself made choice of the silver casket, reads 
this schedule :- — 

The fire seven times tried this ; 
Seven times tried that judgment is, 
That did never choose amiss. 

In Hamlet (IV. 5), Ophelia appears fcmtastically drest, and 
cries : — 

heat, dry up my brains ; tears seven times salt 
Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye. 

Of Coriolanus (II. i) it is said: "He received in the re- 
pulse of Tarquin seven hurts in the body." 

In Measure for Measure (II. i), we find an allusion to the 
seven mortal sins : — 

Sure, it is no sin. 
Of the deadly seven it is the least. 

In Julius Caesar (III. i), the servant of Octavius says of 
his master : — 

He lies to-night within seven leagues of Rome. 

So in Midsummer-Night's Dream (I. i), Lysander says : — 

Hear me, Hermia ; ■ 

1 have a widow aunt, a dowager. 

Of great revenue, and she hath no child : 
From Athens is her house remote seven leagues. 

This may remind us of the famous seven-league boots, so 
long current in popular tradition, which, having now been 
vamped up with new art by the author of Peter Schlemihl's 
Wonderful History, may be expected to travel down to the 
remotest posterity. 


In As You Like It (III. 2), Rosalind, speaking of the pro- 
gress of time, says, " Marry, he trots hard with a young 
maid between the contract of her marriage and the day it is 
solemnized; if the interim be but a sevennight, Time's pace 
is so hard, that it seems the length of seven years." 

The designation " seven years " is very frequently repeated. 
Thus in Much Ado About Nothing (III. 3), the Watchman 
says, " I know that Deformed ; a' has been a vile thief this 
seven year." 

In Coriolanus (II. i), Menenius says, "A letter for me? it 
gives me an estate of seven years' health." And again : — 

If I could shake off but one seven years 

From these old arms and legs, by the good gods, 

I'd with thee every foot. 

In Pericles (IV. 6), Boult says, " Go to the wars, would ye, 
where a man may serve seven years for the loss of'a leg, and 
have not money enough in the end to buy him a wooden one." 

In King Lear (III. 4), Edgar sings: — 

But mice and rats and such small deer 
Have been Tom's meat for seven long year. 

In As You Like It (II. 7), is found the celebrated passage : — 

All the world's a stage. 
And all the men and women merely players ; 
They have their exits and their entrances, 
And one man in his time plays many parts, 
His acts being seven ages. 

Then follow the seven— infant, school-boy, lover, soldier, 
justice, old age, and second childhood. Everybody knows 
the passage ; but everybody does not know that this division 
of human life into seven ages is an idea prevalent long before 
the time of Shakspeare, as far back even as the Greek physi- 
cian Hippocrates, more than four centuries before our era. 

In the same play, we have the seven degrees of offence in 
affairs of honor. Touchstone says, " I have had four quar- 
rels, and like to have fought one. Jaqiies, And how was 
that ta'en up ? Touchstone. Faith, we met and found the 


quarrel was upon the seventh cause. Jaques. How did you 
find the quarrel on the seventh cause ? Touchstone. Upon a 
lie seven times removed — as thus, Sir : I did dislike the cut 
of a certain courtier's beard ; he sent me word, if I said his 
beard was not cut well, he was in the mind it was. This is 
called the Retort courteous.. If I sent him word again, it was 
not well cut, he would send me word, he cut it to please him- 
self. This is called the Quip modest. If again it was not 
well cut, he disabled my judgment. This is called the Reply 
churlish. If again it was not well cut, he would answer, I 
spake not true. This is called the Reproof valiant. If again 
it was not well cut, he would say, I lie. This is called the 
Counter-check quarrelsome : and so to the Lie circumstantial, 
and the Lie direct. Jaques. And how oft did you say his 
beard was not well cut ? Touchstone. I durst go no further 
than the Lie circumstantial ; nor he durst not give me the Lie 
direct, and so we measured swords and parted." 

Further on in the same colloquy, Touchstone says, " I 
know when seven justices could not settle a quarrel, but when 
the parties were met themselves, one of them thought but of 
an If, as. If you said so, then I said so. And they shook 
hands and swore brothers. Your If is the only peacemaker: 
much virtue in If." * 

A word now in regard to the Mohammedans. The religion 
of the Koran, like that of the Old and New Testaments, made 
its first appearance among a Semitic people ; the Israelite has, 
in race and tongue, no nearer kinsman than the Ishmaelite. 
The Koran, too, like the Old and New Testaments, has car- 
ried the ascendency of the number Seven over vast regions 
of the earth. Its preeminence in the Moslem scriptures, 
though less marked and conspicuous than in ours, is yet not 
to be mistaken. The sevens of the Koran counted up greatly 
outnumber the eights and sixes put together. It is possible 
that in this point Mohammed may have felt the influence of 
the Bible, with which, though unable to read it, he had cer- 
tainly picked up some acquaintance. But it is more likely 
that he gav^e expression to a feeling which belonged already 
to his Arab fellow-countrymen, in common with their kindred 
of Palestine. The most venerated monument of their ante- 


Mohammedan literature, the collection of poems known as the 
Moallakat — poems written in golden letters, and suspended 
at the Holy Kaaba in Mecca — was the production of seven 
authors. At all events, it is certain that the Mohammedan 
Arabs have shown an extraordinary predilection for the 
Seven, not yielding in this respect either to Jews or Chris- 
tians. They have discovered or imagined an immense num- 
ber of septenary groups, in religion, history, art, philosophy, 
and indeed all branches of human knowledge. We shall not 
undertake to exhibit even specimens of these. They are col- 
lected to a great extent in a remarkable work, the Sukkerdan, 
or Sugar Box, as it is called, in which this confectionery of 
the Arab mind is sorted and stored in innumerable parcels 
of seven. It is the composition of an African scholar, Ibn 
Khojle, who wrote in the year of the Hejra 757 (A. D. 1356), 
and died in the year of the Hejra ']']6. We may suspect that 
in this last date a mistake has been made of one year, and 
that his life actually passed away in TTJ . 

Ibn Khojle is not the only writer, nor is he by many centu- 
ries the earliest, who composed an elaborate work on the 
number seven. Among the voluminous writings of Philo 
Judffius — Philo, the learned Jew of Alexandria, a contem- 
porary of our Saviour — we find a special dissertation, De 
Septenario , on the number seven ; while in another work, on 
the Mosaic History of the Creation, he dwells at length on the 
dignity and sacredness of the same number. Nor has the 
subject been overlooked by Christian writers. The Fathers 
have frequent allusions to it, though no one of them, so far as 
we know, has made it the theme of a separate treatise. But 
in modern times we find the work of Wurfifbain which bears 
the following title : De numero septenario variariun lectionum 
collectionem hanc philologicam elahoravit Leonhartt Wurffbain 
Noriberge7tsis Doctor, anno sahitis 1630, cetatis suce scpties 
septimo. Cotistat septeno qiiicquid in orbefuit. Niritibergce, 
1633 — ' This philological collection of various readings on the 
number seven hath Leonhartt Wurfifbain, of Nuremberg, 
Doctor, elaborated in the year of salvation the 1630th, of his 
own age the seven times seventh. Whatsoe'er on earth 
existeth, in a seven it consisteth. Nuremberg, 1633.' Within 


the last few years, Wurffbain has found among his own coun- 
trymen a more distinguished successor. The Wiener Jahr- 
bucher for 1848 contains a series of articles on the number 
seven, the contribution of a veteran Orientalist, whose la- 
mented death occurred about two years ago — the Baron Von 
Hammer-Purgstall. We have placed his name at the head of 
our own remarks, and take pleasure in acknowledging that we 
are dependent to a great extent upon his learned labors. If 
any of our readers find their curiosity athirst for further de- 
tails, we can refer them to his two hundred pages. Only a 
word of caution. We would advise our friends not to attempt 
those articles, unless consciously animated by a genuine inte- 
rest in the subject, profoundly impressed by the mystic pre- 
dominance of this venerable number ; otherwise they may 
find Von Hammer-Purgstall's ocean-flood of septenary erudi- 
tion somewhat too overwhelming for them, and may prefer to 
take up with the small specimen-phial which we have the 
honor of exhibiting. 

It remains to say a word in regard to the cause or causes of 
the honor so early and so widely paid to the number seven. 
Arithmetical reasons have been assigned for it ; we find them 
drawn out at length by Philo the Jew. If we take the ten 
primary numbers — that is, the series from i to 10 (leaving out 
of view the i , which is regarded as the basis of all number, 
but hardly a number itself) — we shall find that some of them 
are produced by multiplication : as 4 by multiplying 2 and 2 ; 
6 by 2 and 3 ; 8 by 2 and 4 ; 9 by 3 and 3 ; 10 by 2 and 5. 
Some again are not themselves produced by multiplication, 
but by their multiplication produce others of the series : thus 
2 helps to produce 4 and 6 and 8 and 10 ; 3 helps to produce 
6 and 9 ; 4 to produce 8, and 5 to produce 10. Thus we 
have the products of multiplication 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, and the pro- 
ducers 2, 3, 4, 5. Seven alone belongs to neither class; it 
neither produces nor is produced ; and is thus clearly distin- 
guished from its fellows. Another property : if we start with 
unity, and go on doubling, we form the geometric series i, 2, 
4, 8, 16, 32, 64. In this series the seventh term 64 is at the 
same time an exact square number, and an exact cube number, 
its square root being 8, and its cube root 4. Now let us start 


again with unity and go on trebling : we form the series i, 3, 
9, 27, 81, 243, 729 ; and here again the seventh term 729 has 
the same remarkable property of being an exact square and 
cube number at the same time ; its square r6ot being 27 and 
its cube root 9. And so if we form our series; by quadrupling 
or quintupling, or with any other ratio, the seventh term will 
still have the same property ; which is easily accounted for by 
our algebra, the seventh term of such a series being the sixth 
power of the ratio, which is of course the square of the third 
power and the cube of the second power. It is evident, how-- 
ever, that these properties of the number seven will not ex- 
. plain the origin of the feeling under consideration : they are 
very far from being obvious ; they would probably have 
passed without notice, or at all events without special atten- 
tion, had not the established sacredness of the number set 
men upon the hunt to find out everything remarkable con- 
nected with it. 

Others rely upon a chronological reason : they derive the 
veneration for the Seven from the early division of time into 
periods of seven days — that is, from the week. It is certainly 
probable that the week, if it did not give origin to the feeling, 
has contributed to give it strength and perpetuity. . Even if 
we regard the week as at first a merely human division of 
time, suggested by the changes of the moon, though after- 
wards taken up with divine sanctions into the Mosaic economy, 
still it could hardly fail, when once established, to invest its 
number with peculiar interest and importance : just as the 
widely recognized distinction of the number twelve may be 
ascribed to the twelve months (mooneths), revolutions of the 
moon, which correspond nearly to a single revolution of the 
sun. Still more might this effect be looked for, if we regard 
the week as being from the beginning of the world a positive 
divine institution. But some who take the latter view feel 
prompted to go further, and to explain zvhy this number 
should have been selected by the Deity as the number of the 
week, and thereby as the subject of peculiar dignity and 
reverence. Thus Bahr, in his Symbolism of the Mosaic 
Ritual, observes that the Seven is formed by the union of two 
symbolic numbers ; namely, three, which symbolizes the 


divine, since the Godhead is a trinity, and four, which sym- 
bolizes the cosmical, the created universe of space, this being 
all determined in situation by the four cardinal directions or 
points of the compass, North, South, East, and West. The 
Seven, therefore, is in the highest degree symbolic, repre- 
senting the union of the divine and the cosmical, and espe- 
cially representing that reunion of the world with God which 
is the great aim and crowning consummation of all true re- 
•ligion. Kurtz also, another learned and pious theologian of 
Germany, in the Studicu tind Kritiken for 1844, goes into an 
elaborate vindication of the same view. In like manner, the 
twelves of the new Jerusalem, which have been already re- 
ferred to, are explained as being the symbolic product of the 
same symbolic numbers. We have spoken before of arithme-. 
tical and chronological reasons : we may describe this as a 
symbolical reason. Such views will be very differently re- 
ceived by different persons. The example of Bahr himself 
shows that minds of a high order can find interest and satis- 
faction in them. At the- same time there will always be 
others, men of positive and critical minds, who will distrust 
them as wanting an objective basis, or think of them as 
thin but highly flavored soups, fitted to tickle or to tease 
the intellectual palate, but affording next to nothing of sub- 
stantial nutriment. 

Next the physiological reasons. It is well known that the 
importance of the Ten, as the universal numerating number 
of all languages and peoples — for all men count by tens, and 
tens of tens, and tens of tens of tens, and so on, not in fig- 
ures only but in words, and not in words only but in con- 
ceptions : thought and language have always been decimal, 
though figures have not always been so — nobody doubts, we 
say, that this ascendency of the Ten depends upon a physio- 
logical reason, one which makes it natural and handy for all 
men to reckon thus ; that our apprehension of number is 
more than figurative, it is really a taking hold of it with our 
ten fingers. The science of number appears to be of all 
others the least artificial ; yet there is no art, not even the 
potter's, which shows more clearly the impress of man's 
hands. Now some would find similar reasons for the pre- 


eminence of the Seven. Thus we have the seven parts of the 
human body, the head, chest, and loins, with the four hmbs, 
upper and lower. So, too, we have the seven openings of 
the head, the three twin pairs of eyes, ears, and nostrils, with 
the monadic mouth to make the seventh. Further, in many 
diseases, the seventh, fourteenth, twenty-first days are critical 
periods, and were so regarded by ancient physicians. To 
these anatomical and pathological sevens Von Hammer- 
Purgstall seems inclined to give the foremost place, and to 
consider them as the most effective agents in creating a 
reverence for the Seven. To us, we confess, they do not 
appear very striking. We should ascribe a far earlier and 
more powerful influence to the astronomical sevens. 
• We need not say, that to the men of primitive times the 
spectacle of the nocturnal heavens was as impressive as it was 
constant. But in this spectacle there was no object, the 
moon alone excepted, so striking to the inhabitants of the 
north temperate zone — that is, to all the cultivated nations of 
antiquity — as that group of seven splendid never-setting stars, 
in which the utilitarian imagination of the Yankee recognizes 
— a dipper. The ancient Greeks saw in it the great northern 
bear; the Romans, seven plough-oxen, scptcin trioncs ; 
among Greeks and Romans both, an entire quarter of earth 
and sky received its name from this constellation. The stars 
composing it were called by the Persians Jieft creng, the 
' seven thrones,' seats for the monarchs of the sky. The 
celestial empire would thus seem to be, like Anglo-Saxon 
England, a Heptarchy. But while in this unequaled constel- 
lation the glory of the Seven is most conspicuously blazoned, 
there are other notable groups which hold forth the same 
skyey number : as the lesser bear, inferior in brightness to 
the other, but distingui.shed as containing that remarkable 
star, which amid all motions and revolutions of earth and 
heaven has kept through the ages the same fixed place, the 
unvarying guide of benighted mortals. Nor must we forget 
the sweet influences of the Pleiades, " glittering like a swarm 
of fire-flies tangled in a silver braid;" nor how "through 
scudding drifts the rainy Hyades vexed the dim sea." In a 
passage of the Iliad, Homer, describing the shield of 


Achilles, tells us that the divine artisan represented within 
its central circle — 

the earth, the heaven, the sea ; 
The sun that rests not, and the moon full-orbed ; 
There also all the stars, that round about 
As with a radiant frontlet bind the sky ; 
The Hyads, and the Pleiads, and the might 
Of huge Orion, with him Ursa called, 
KnowTi also by his popular name the Wain. 

It is worthy of notice that, among the constellations here spe- 
cified as most interesting to the Homeric Greeks, three out of 
the four present the septenary number. 

But we have yet to mention the great planetary seven. 
Most of the heavenly bodies, though revolving daily round the 
earth, maintain the same position relative to each other. 
But there are seven which wander without resting through 
the stationary camp. Among these seven wanderers, or plan- 
ets, are the two greater lights that rule the day and the night, 
and the two usher stars that herald the morning and the eve- 
ning. Enumerated in the order of their distance from the 
earth, as determined by the ancient astronomy, they are the 
Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. 
From the earliest times they have been an object of wonder, of 
curiosity, of study, to star-gazing men. Their movements 
have been watched with the minutest observation, and every 
possible device adopted to unravel the mystery of their way- 
ward courses. The feeling toward them is well illustrated by 
the Persian literature, in which a great variety of honorary 
titles are applied to them, such as the seven pearls, the seven 
golden corals, seven eyes of heaven, seven tapers or torches, 
seven peers, seven sultans, seven great ladies, seven green 
daughters, seven heart-breaking boys, and so on, and so on. 
Each of these bodies has his own heaven, or sphere in which 
he moves about the earth. Hence the idea of seven heavens, 
which, with the correlative seven hells, we have noticed al- 
ready. For these seven heavens the Persians have an even 
greater redundancy of titular expressions, such as the seven 
buildings, the seven temples, the seven roofs, the seven domes, 
the seven vaults, the seven blue curtains, the seven watered-col- 


ored sun-screens, the seven castles of gilded enamel, the seven 
horse-mills or ass-mills (in which the stars go round and round, 
as the ass in the mill). But we need not multiply illustrations 
to show how profound, as well as early, were the impressions 
made by these seven planets upon the minds of men. It is 
true that science has been making wild work with this ancient 
and venerable seven. The peerage of England has been more 
than once menaced with degradation by a large addition of 
upstart nobles. Something like this has actually happened 
to the celestial peerage. But let not these parvenu planets — 
Dii minorum gentium — whether condemned to outer dark- 
ness like Uranus and Neptune, or huddled together like As- 
traea, Flora, and fifty more, as if to make up by collective 
numbers for individual insignificance — let them not suppose 
that they can take rank with the ancient nobility of the skies. 
There are prerogatives of the original seven from which they 
are forever excluded. They can never preside over the re- 
volving week. They can never be the arbiters and expo- 
nents of human destiny. For the seveti planets are the great 
objects, not only of astronomy, but of astrology. They 
are the lords of life ; by their endless relations to each other 
and to the fixed stars they determine the endless varieties of 
human character and fortune. We profess to disbelieve in 
astrology ; our science is against it. Yet still, if anything 
particularly fortunate befalls us, we bless our stars for it. As 
Max Piccolomini says in Schiller's play : — 

" Still doth the old instinct call back the old names, 

and even at this day 

'Tis Jupiter who brings whate'er is great, 
And Venus who brings everything that's fair." 

At all events, the days of the week still retain their old as- 
trological designations, still own in name the mastery of the 
planetary seven. We have our Saturn-day, our Sun-day, our 
Moon-day. And if, instead of having a Mars-day, Mercury- 
day, Jove day, Venus-day, like the people of France, Italy, 
and Spain, we speak of Tuis'-day, and Woden's-day, and 
Thor's-day, and Freya's-day, it is a mere translation — the 


translation of Roman names by their supposed representatives 
in northern mythology. 

And now, who will not admit that the veneration for the 
Seven is in literal truth a lesson of celestial teaching ? In this 
respect, as in others, " night unto night showeth knowledge 
— no speech, no language — their voice is not heard — yet their 
line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the 
end of the world." 






BYRON, it seems to me, was a bad man. Doubtless he 
had his good impulses — who has not ? A mind so vigor- 
ous must have seen the excellence of virtue ; a sensibility so 
keen must have felt it. But was the will subject to its power ? 
Did the man live with good and noble aims ? or did he live 
with vile and selfish aims ; live to gratify pride and passion ? 
The life and writings of Byron are consistent with each other : 
they both alike show a fierce and haughty nature, spurning 
all restraint, controlled neither by reason nor religion. He 
never governs himself. He is swayed like a reed by every 
gust of passion. It is melancholy to speak thus of a man so 
highly gifted. But it is the truth. I have read Moore's 
apology nearly through. It is a book which corrects itself. 
The writer wishes to convey a favorable impression of Byron. 
In his descriptions everything is softened, and displayed .in 
the most advantageous light. But unfortunately — unfortu- 
nately, I mean, for the subject of the biography ; fortunately 
for the reader, fortunately for the interests of truth — he has 
not muzzled his charge ; his protege is allowed to speak for 
himself; and he never speaks without betraying the atra bills 
that was in him. It is impossible to read that book, as it is 
impossible to read the writings of Byron, without feeling that 
the moral nature of the man had become corrupted and dis- 
eased. Would you become convinced of this ? Take another 
man, and not the highest style of man, either — Walter Scott 
— and compare Byron with him. His qualities become more 
striking when placed side by side with those of a sound and 
healthy nature. Turn from Walter Scott to Byron, and how 


great the transition ! It is like passing from summer to 
winter. The one healthy in feeling and expression, with a 
sunny genial nature, radiant with charity, kindness, honesty, 
hearty affection, and loving humor ; a soul at peace with the 
world, and submitting without a murmur to the laws that 
govern it. Such is the one. The other is cold and bitter 
and satirical. According to Moore, his conversation was 
always spiced with raillery at absent friends ; he had a breast 
haunted by evil demons, devoured by gloomy passions. He 
is always kicking against the pricks, dashing himself with im- 
potent spite against the barriers which society, which God 
himself has placed around him. With all his splendid en- 
dowments, was there ever a man so little to be envied ? 

There may have been writers whose moral qualities did 
not appear in their writings. Byron was not one of these. 
He was intensely subjective — to use a fashionable term of 
modern criticism. The man appears in all his works. His 
personality is everywhere prominent. He is always describ- 
ing himself; or, if describing anything else, stamps himself 
on that which he describes. His poems of course reflect the 
immorality of his nature. And this is true of all of them — 
grave or gay, true heroic or mock heroic. Childe Harold is as 
really immoral as Don Juan. The difference between them 
is that the one scowls and the other sneers. The one bids a 
sullen defiance to the laws of moral order ; the other seeks to 
cover them with a load of blasphemous and indecent ridicule. 
A poem is not of course moral because it contains no foul 
words, no expressions but such as could be repeated in a 
drawing-room. Immorality and indelicacy are different 
things. Rabelais is indelicate to the last degree, but he is 
not really immoral. Congreve is far less indelicate, but far 
more immoral. The book which breathes an immoral spirit 
is an immoral book. The book which expresses the feelings 
of an immoral man is an immoral book. The spirit of Byron's 
poems is destructive. Discontent, skepticism, scorn are 
written on every page. He is at war with all that is estab- 
lished ; he refuses, at least in spirit, submission to established 
authority, divine and human. 

It is often said that this impatient temper must be forgiven 


to a man of his genius. The poet, gifted with a soul larger, 
deeper, stronger than those of ordinary men, cannot be con- 
fined within the same narrow limits as they. He bursts the 
barriers which shut in others ; or, if he cannot burst them, 
chafes angrily and impatiently against them. Was it so with 
Shakespeare and Milton ? The poet, if he sees farther than 
common men, more clearly than they, will see the necessity 
of those restraints which God and man have placed about his 
path — their necessity to himself; for, if he is a genius, he is 
yet a man, erring and sinful like all his race — their necessity 
to others ; and, seeing this, he will beware how he shakes 
others' faith or encourages in them a feeling of discontent and 
insubordination. And if not, if instead of this he chooses to 
wage war against the laws of moral order, the grand condi- 
tions of human life, individual and social, then his guilt will 
be proportionate to those endowments of the Almighty which 
he has perverted to wicked and unworthy ends. 

To criticize the literary merit of Byron's poems does not 
come within the scope of this discussion. I am ready to ac- 
knowledge his extraordinary powers — though I think that his 
moral character has had a very injurious effect upon his 
literary character ; that with the calmness, the clearness, the 
conscious effort, the lofty purposes of a truly moral nature, 
he would have soared far higher, and produced works of far 
greater value even as works of poetic art. 

I do not say that Byron should not be read at all. The 
man who would investigate the morbid anatomy of the hu- 
man mind will find in Byron's works an admirable study. It 
may be well on some accounts to know how a haughty and 
malignant spirit will express itself in good set English. 

My own course of reading was subject to very little guid- 
ance from without, and was at first confined to a small library, 
to which many of the British classics had not gained admit- 
tance. Under such circumstances I read much the greater 
part of Byron's works. I now regret, not that I read him at 
all, but that much of the time which I gave him was not de- 
voted to other and healthier writers — especially to those con- 
temporaries of Byron whom he so much affected to despise, 
but whom he had so little reason to despise, his equals, his 


superiors even in many intellectual gifts, greatly his superiors 
in moral excellence — Robert Southey and William Words- 



There are two ways of viewing this subject. We might 
commence with the circumstances and conditions on which 
eloquence depends, and, by comparing these in ancient and in 
modern times, judge by a sort of d priori judgment which 
period should naturally have the higher eloquence. We often 
see and hear the question discussed in this way. On the 
other hand, we may consider the actual specimens of ancient 
and modern eloquence, and by direct comparison determine 
the superiority of this or that, leaving it for after work to de- 
termine, if possible, the causes and conditions of that superi- 
ority. The form of our question would lead us rather to the 
latter mode of treatment. But there is a preliminary point to 
settle : and that is the standard of excellence. What are we 
to look at — is it elegance, is it feeling, is it passion, is it 
argument, is it logic or rhetoric ; or all combined ? Some 
have a simple test, and that is persuasiveness ; the best ora- 
tion is the most persuasive, and vice versa , the most persuasive 
is the best ; for it best fulfils the end of eloquence, which is 
persuasion. But there is still a difficulty here. The elo- 
quence of Mike Walsh has an effect as persuasive on the col- 
lective blackguardism of New York as the eloquence of Daniel 
Webster has on the collective dignity and learning of the 
Senate or the Supreme Court, Shall we therefore decide 
that the one is no higher than the o|her ? Now persuasive- 
ness, tendency or adaptation to secure that course of action 
which the orator desires, is indeed an indispensable element 
in true eloquence. But there is another element, of great im- 
portance, which may vary much in orations equally persuasive : 
and that is artistic perfection, aptness to satisfy the aesthetic 
sense, the critical faculty in man. An oration may be re- 


garded as a work of art, and subject more or less to the pre- 
dicates symmetrical, perfect, beautiful, or the reverse. In- 
deed, no cultivated mind can help taking this view. He who 
has taste— that is, the critical faculty which judges of form — 
must be shocked with what is out of taste, must admire that 
which good taste recommends and sanctions. Now it is pre- 
cisely here that I would take my stand. In everything else — 
in vehemence of passion, in depth of feeling, in cogency of 
argument, in attractiveness of persuasion — I admit that the 
moderns have shown themselves not inferior to the ancients. 
But in finish and perfection, in symmetry and beauty of out- 
ward form, I bow to the superiority of the ancient masters. 
I regard the orations of Demosthenes as not only unsurpassed, 
but as unrivalled specimens of oratoric art. And now, having 
pronounced this opinion, if you ask me why, why this was 
so, why an old Athenian should have borne away from all 
the world the prize of art in oratory, I cannot say, I cannot 
satisfy your curiosity. I do not ascribe it to a genial climate, 
or a productive soil ; to successful wars with foreign powers, 
or noble struggles for national independence ; nor to agricul- 
tural, mechanical, professional, political activity ; nor to de- 
mocratic institutions, to annual magistracies, to vote by ballot 
or by bean. I do not deny that these things had their in- 
fluence, as furnishing field and opportunity and encourage- 
ment to intellectual development. But that matchless 
aesthesis of the Greeks, that unrivalled taste, that wonderful 
sense of beauty and harmony and proportion — where that 
came from is more than I can tell ; I greatly doubt whether it 
is in any proper sense the creature of external circumstances. 
I hold, then, that the same causes which made a Homer the 
first of epic poets, and a Phidias the first of sculptors, and a 
Pindar the first of lyric bards, and the builder of the Parthe- 
non the first of architects — the same causes rendered Demos- 
thenes the first of oratorl. Only let circumstances offer fair 
occasion, and the nation which has the keenest and truest 
sense of the beautiful and the perfect will present the highest 
master-works of art. 

It fills me with wonder to see how completely some of 
those old Greeks were under the dominion of their taste, and 


how much they must have sacrificed to it. Every oration of 
Demosthenes is to my mind a heroic exhibition of self-denial. 
So many graces of style and felicities of expression, so many 
details sublime, pathetic, brilliant must have occurred to his 
rich and copious mind, which ever and anon shows when such 
things are necessary that there was no lack of power to ori- 
ginate them — and yet, in general he rigorously rejects them, 
and, if he ever employs them, employs them most sparingly. 
Everywhere he sacrifices the part to the whole, beauty of de- 
tail to general effect : and so he holds on in his severe sim- 
plicity, rarely allowing any embellishment, just as an archi- 
tect decorates only the capitals of his columns or the cornice 
of his roof, trusting to the grand and stately proportions of 
the completed edifice. How different all this from the gene- 
ral character of modern oratory, and above all of American 
oratory, I need not say. The introduction to one of Colonel 
Benton's speeches is longer than the three Olynthiacs put to- 
gether, and contains, I dare say, more figures of speech and 
more grandiloquent phrases, and questionless more egotism 
than all three ; and yet the world of cultivated, educated men 
would hardly consent to barter one Olynthiac oration for all 
the windy declamations of the Colonel, from the fight with 
General Jackson to the present time. 



The Chinese more than any other people have need of a 
phonographic revolution. With less than five hundred differ- 
ent syllables in their language, they have an immense num- 
ber of written characters — fo/ty thousand, it is said, in all, 
though not more than ten thousand are in general use. 
These characters are most of them very complicated, and re- 
quiring, as they do, to be written with perfect accuracy in 
order to avoid confusion between such as are of similar form. 


they make it a most arduous work to master them, and it-^s 
Hterally true that multitudes in China are all their lives -TOig 
learning to read and write. The case is not so bad with us ; 
there is a general relation between the alphabetic signs we 
use and the vocal sounds for which we use them. But it is a 
relation so variable, so irregular, so capricious, so subject to 
manifold and endless exceptions, as to impose grievous diffi- 
culties on a learner. It does not matter so much with us who 
are brought up under it ; line upon line,, lesson upon lesson, we 
get hold of the system, if that name can be given to anything 
so unsystematic ; through much weariness, through many 
blunders, through some floggings, it may be, the successful 
boy at length learns to spell — fails now and then on a hard 
word, such diS phthisic,' has to consult his Dictionary now and 
then, to find how many^'s there are in ivaggon, or Avhether 
sibyl is spelt sibyl or sybil — but on the whole is entitled, as 
things human go, with some degree of unavoidable imperfec- 
tion, to the dignity of Master of Spelling. That is the suc- 
cessful boy ; but all boys are not successful, nor all young 
men either — as college compositions not unfrequently attest. 
I know a man of talents and of literary cultivation who cannot 
learn to spell the words which come from the Latin cedo, 
some of which have ceed, and others cede — such as accede and 
exceed, precede d^nd proceed, secede and succeed, etc. ; he never 
can tell which is which. And I have heard several well-edu- 
cated persons say that there are particular words or classes of 
words which always puzzle them. But, as I was saying, it is 
of less consequence to us who are born and bred under this 
sort of spelling ; the years which we spend upon it are of no 
great value to us ; we should not accomplish very much be- 
side — except that one might learn two or three decently- 
spelled languages while he is learning to spell his own ; and, 
if he did not, how much pleasanter to be playing long ball or 
ranging through the woods ! We get a certain discipline, no 
doubt, from our drudgery ; onl^ would it not be better to get 
our discipline in mastering some useful thing, when there are 
so many useful things to be mastered ? But with us it is less 
matter ; it is for foreigners thaft my sympathies are most 
strongly enlisted, for men who in adult years set themselves 


to learning English. In itself our language is a very easy- 
one. Its sounds are not difficult, except the two tJis, which 
are easy for a modern Greek, but hard to all the other Euro- 
pean nations ; but in general they are easy, though some- 
times rendered difficult by harsh accumulations — ^as in hosts, 
asked. Our system of declension and conjugation is an easy 
one, as the inflexions are reduced very nearly to a minimum. 
Nor has the language very much of troublesome idiom, like 
French and Latin ; there is a twist about will and shall in the 
future, which proved fatal, it is said, to a drowning French- 
man, whose agonizing cry, " I will be drowned ; nobody shall 
help me," was rather calculated to repel than invite assistance 
— but this distinction is ill-observed by Scotch and Irish, and 
by Americans, too, out of New England, and seems to be 
gradually fading out from the language. I am convinced 
(without particulars) that, apart from its orthography, the 
English is easier of acquisition than any other idiom of Europe. 
But the orthography is a very serious obstacle ; every for- 
eigner who has learned English in adult years will speak feel- 
ingly of his trouble and occasional despair at its numberless 
and capricious exceptions and irregularities. Perhaps it 
would not be going too far to say that a uniform orthography, 
with notation of the accenf, would lighten by half the labor of 
learning English. And many foreigners are studying Eng- 
lish now-a-days ; the astonishing development of the English 
race is carrying their language far and wide in every conti- 
nent. English is now the language of North America, with 
its rapidly increasing millions ; it will soon be the language of 
millions in the ancient peninsula of India ; it will soon, if it 
does not now, carry a man farther over the world, bring him 
into connection with greater multitudes and wider regions, 
than any other tongue. This commanding and ever-growing 
importance of the language is making it more and more the 
object of study among foreigners, who might not have been 
attracted by the treasures of a literature which I do not 
hesitate to pronounce the noblest of modern Europe. But 
when you put all things together, its noble literature, its 
political importance, its simplicity of structure, you will 
see that, if its acquisition were facilitated by a uniform 


orthography, it might almost come to be ere long a universal 

It cannot be denied that the English language is shocking- 
ly spelled. The original difficulty lay in the mixture of dif- 
ferent languages, Saxon and Norman French, out of which 
came English ; the confusion of different systems, varying 
and conflicting analogies, is everywhere to be seen in our 

Besides, the French, which makes one element of 
English, does itself enjoy, next to the English and perhaps 
the Gaelic, the honor of being the worst spelt language of 
Europe Franklin used to say that what we call false spelling 
of the vulgar was really true spelling. I do not know that I 
should say that, for vulgar spelling is sometimes most ingeni- 
ously absurd. But I certainly feel a good deal of hesitation 
about saying in regard to any man that he spells badly : I 
say that he does not spell like most of us ; he spells singu- 
larly, peculiarly ; but I do not see, on the whole, that he 
spells worse than the spelling-books and newspapers. 

It is very unfortunate that Johnson's Dictionary should 
have come to be such a standard of spelling. For the con- 
sequence has been that the processes which were going on 
before — gradual progressive processes, to root out anomalies 
and bring in greater regularity, processes which went on 
naturally and almost without notice — were at once arrested, 
and the system which had before been somewhat flexible be- 
came at once a cast-iron aflair. That such processes were 
going on, to the great advantage of the system, will be plain 
enough to any one who takes a book printed in the 
Elizabethan age — say one of the earlier translations of the 
Bible — and compares it with the books printed in the first 
part of the last century. That such processes were arrested 
by the appearance of Johnson's Dictionary is evident from 
the outcry which is raised against any spelling that departs 
from the prescription of that autocratic lexicographer. No 
philologist needs to be reminded that Johnson had little fit- 
ness for the work of legislation in orthography. This would 
be evident enough from his famous dictum that it is absurd 
to regulate your spelling by your pronunciation, for pronun- 


elation changes all the time, and your standard is therefore 
variable and fluctuating. - He did not see that this is one of 
the strongest reasons for regulating spelling by pronunciation ; 
for if pronunciation changes all the time while spelling re- 
mains fixed, the two will div'erge more and more widely from 
each other, until they cease to have any relation, and we shall 
write in hieroglyphics. Most evidently the proper aim and 
object, the ideal of alphabetic writing, is to furnish an exact 
reflexion of the spoken language, a faithful representation of 
what we hear in daily utterance. In its most advanced per- 
fection, every elementary sound will be represented by a 
special character, and each character will be used in eveiy 
case to represent the same sound. There is no great objec- 
tion, however, to a combination of characters used to repre- 
sent a sound different from either — as, for instance, cli in 
cJmrch, provided always that it is used with perfect consistency. 
The reform recently attempted has taken high ground, avoid- 
ing such combinations of characters, and representing the 
same sound always by the same alphabetic sign. Perhaps 
this is the best course, though I have always felt that the in- 
troduction of new letters, which this plan requires, might op- 
erate pretty strongly to prevent its adoption. 

The objections commonly urged against a new system oi 
phonography have in my view very little weight. It is often 
said that, if this plan were adopted, all books printed hitherto 
would be useless. It is certain that people would not read 
them quite so readily as now ; but only for this reason, that 
they would spend less time in acquiring the power. It would 
be really as easy as ever for people to learn the old system : 
or rather, far easier ; for then it would be necessary only that 
they should learn to read, to recognize the words when they 
see them ; and not to learn what is far harder, to spell, to 
reproduce the words when you do not see them. Another 
objection, which has considerable influence, is that a new 
system would obscure the etymology of words, which is now 
shown in many cases by the spelling. But as regards this, 
the etymology of words is of little practical value except to 
scholars, who could always get it out of books of lexicography ; 
it is not worth while for their benefit to impose a heavy bur- 


den upon the world at large. But our common spelling is 
often an untrustworthy guide to etymology. Take the word 
sovereign : the people who first spelt it so supposed no doubt 
that it had something to do with rezgn / but it most certainly 
has not. It comes from Latin super, through Italian sovrano, 
etc. But I will go further, and say that the wants of the 
philologist require a different system. What is important for 
him is that he should know the condition of a language at any 
given period of the past, that he may be able to trace it 
through its successive changes to its latest form. Now in 
doing this he must depend mainly on the spelling, the writ- 
ing ; if this be maintained invariable from age to age amid all 
mutations of spoken words, the philologist is deprived of his 
most serviceable guide. I would give a good deal to get a 
Fonetic Niiz of Chaucer's time, that I might know how far 
some important phenomena of the modern language — as for 
instance the change of a to e, of e to %, ^nd of \ to ai — had es- 
tablished themselves five centuries ago. 

There are many points of which I should be glad to speak 
more at length, but I must stop. You will see from what I - 
have said that I recognize fully the evils of our present 
orthography (as men sarcastically term it), and that I sym- 
pathize in the objects of a phonographic revolution. But in 
regard to the feasibility of such a revolution I am far from 
being sanguine ; a political revolution, I suspect, would be 
a much easier undertaking. Yet I have no desire to damp 
the ardor of those who are more sanguine than myself; on 
the contrary, I wish them all success in their work,, being 
sure at least of this — that, whatever imperfections may belong 
to their systems, they cannot be so bad as ordinary good 



The selfishness of Bonaparte is now as universally admitted 
as his transcendent abilities. There was an English officer 


who wrote a book, some years ago, to prove that Bonaparte 
was a bungler in war, that he violated every rule of general- 
ship, and won all his great battles by mistake. A preposter- 
ous attempt — as though the voice of a pettifogging critic could 
drown the paean of praise that rises to Napoleon from twenty 
glorious battlefields ; as though Jena and Austerlitz, Boro- 
dino and Eylau were not stronger arguments than any pos- 
sible accumulation of professional technics ! Equally pre- 
posterous would it be to dispute the selfishness of Bonaparte, 
to pretend that he cared for anybody but himself, and, most 
of all, to maintain that he cared a straw for civil liberty. His 
government was the government of the strong arm. It was 
of espionage, of repression, of censorship, of anything but 
civil liberty. If Bonaparte did anything to help the cause of 
freedom, he must have done it undesignedly, by accident or 
by mistake. This is possible, certainly. A man may work 
toward ends which he has no idea of. The old Greeks, when 
they planted their colonies on all the coasts of the Mediter- 
ranean, and under Alexander and his successors established 
*their civilization and their language in wide regions of Europe 
and Asia, had no thought of Christianity, and the progress 
by which it would one day supplant the gods of Hellas ; yet 
they were contributing all the time to this great progress of 
Christianity. In the same unconscious way may Bonaparte 
have contributed to the advance of civil liberty. 

Look then to his own country, to France, the special 
theatre of an activity which extended over the world. What 
did he do for civil liberty in France ? Did he limit or destroy 
the absolute authority of the throne? He established a 
throne as absolute as the ^ most despotic court of the Bour- 
bons. Did he erect the fabric of a free representative govern- 
ment ? He would as soon have shattered the throne on which 
he sat, and blown up the palace in which he held his court. 
Did he break the bonds of an antiquated and oppressive feu- 
dalism ? He found them broken by the Revolution, and it 
would have required a hand stronger even than his to fasten 
them again. He promulgated a body of law, the famous 
Code Napoleon. But a code of law is intended to secure the 
people in person and in property, not to secure them in the 


rights and privileges of citizens. It is designed to protect 
social rights, not civil. The Roman Law attained its highest 
perfection in the time of its emperors, when civil liberty was 
at an end. Its latest and most finished form appears in the 
Justinian Code ; yet nobody speaks of Justinian as having 
promoted civil liberty, in Europe or elsewhere. It may be 
said that a good code, giving as it does personal security, will 
lead men to aspire further after political privilege. But the 
experience of the world is rather against this. Men who are 
personally well off, secure, easy, comfortable in their circum- 
stances, are apt to be content with this, and to submit to the 
existing government, however absolute it may be. It was 
physical suffering, hardship, and starvation which made the 
Revolution in France, not the aspiration after citizenship. 

But let us look beyond France. The Germans in general 
speak very bitterly of Napoleon. But Godfrey Hermann, the 
famous scholar, used to say that it was a good thing to have 
a thorough shaking up now and then. This is the great benefit 
which Bonaparte conferred on Europe : he gave it a thorough 
shaking up. His actions were too great to be hushed up 
among princes and diplomatists, to be concealed from the 
common people ; they penetrated every class of society, and 
roused the popular mind from its slumbers. They set men 
thinking : and it was not strange that, among other things, 
they should think on civil liberty ; that they should raise a 
thousand questions as to their actual and their proper condi- 
tion which had never occurred to them before. Men saw — 
common men, I mean — they saw that the government placed 
over them was not an immutable fixity, not an inevitable 
necessity ; when Napoleon appeared, it was neither fixed nor 
necessary — it was obliged to change and yield according to 
his direction. Might it not feel the influence of some other 
force — as (say) the declared will of the people ? The same 
lessons, to be sure, had been taught by the American Revolu- 
tion. But America was far away beyond the ocean, and there 
were multitudes in Europe who had scarcely heard the name. 
The same lessons had been taught by the French PwCvolution — 
a very great event, the greatest since the Reformation, and one 
that could not fail to make a deep impression on the general 


mind of Europe ; and it is not easy always to distinguish be- 
tween the agitation which Napoleon effected, and that which 
would have been produced without him by the Revolution ot 
which he was himself in some sort the creature. But this we 
may say, that whatever lessons were taught by the French 
Revolution, it was Napoleon who by his wars and conquests 
carried them to every door in Europe. 

In Germany the influence, the indirect influence, of Napo- 
leon went further than this. The legitimate sovereigns of 
Germany, defending themselves against the Conqueror, found 
it convenient to make their appeal ^to a sentiment of German 
patriotism. Napoleon had said, there are no Germans ; there 
are Hessians, Saxons, Bavarians, but there are no Germans. 
He found in his own experience that there were Germans. 
They rose against him in their anger and their might, and 
thrust him out of their land, their own German fatherland. 
This Germanic unity is a strange sort of thing. The people 
are one in their language, their physical peculiarities, their 
general type of character, their traditions, and their feelings. 
The sentiment of their oneness is verj' strong among them ; 
it is a positive enthusiasm ; and they are capable of doing 
great things under its influence, as witness their heroic resist- 
ance to Napoleon in 1813. But when it comes to regular, 
systematic political action, the oneness vanishes, the old di- 
visions reappear ; and, as Napoleon said, we have only Hes- 
sians, etc. , no longer any Germans. These things were very 
plain in the movements of the year 1 848 ; there was a great 
deal of talk about a united Germany ; and there was war with 
Denmark, in order to wrest from her Holsteia, which is Ger- 
man, and attach it to this united Germany ; but though 
Prussia led the attack, Denmark, little as she is, opposed a 
stout resistance, and has at last got her own again. But this 
German unity, though it could produce an aggressiv^e war, 
could not keep the Frankfort parliament together, or soothe 
the jealousies of thirty petty states. And the case is much 
the same with Italy. 

But, imperfect and defective as it is, this feeling is very 
strong in Germany, and must some day work out great results 
in the history of that country. It received a very great start 


in the Napoleon times ; and whatever it may accompHsh in 
the future will be due in some measure to Napoleon. Small 
thanks to him for it. 

But Germany went further still. The common activity of 
the people^ their efforts, contributions, sacrifices for their 
country, awoke in them the consciousness of their own manly 
worth, a consciousness of political capacities and energies 
which they had never felt before ; and they began to feel the 
honorable yearning after citizenship. They had not the po- 
litical experience and education necessary for the enlarged and 
thoroughly successful exercise of civic rights ; but they were 
not sensible of their deficiencies; and, if they had been, 
might have felt that to supply them, the best way was to be- 
gin at once under some-system of free institutions. And be- 
sides, their demands were not extravagant. They did not 
propose to overthrow their monarchical governments ; they 
desired only constitutions, with provision for popular repre- 
sentation. This the German princes were ready enough to 
promise in the hour of their extremity ; and ready enough to 
forget their promise in the hour of their restored security. 
But they could not make their people forget it : again and 
again have they been reminded of their promise, until the 
King of Prussia, reluctant as he was, felt himself at last 
obliged to yield and establish a system of popular represent- 
ation. It was greatly qualified, indeed, and restricted ; still, 
it was something ; it conceded at least the principle ; and it 
might serve as an entering wedge to open the way by slow 
and sure degrees to greater things. The spirit which extorted 
this concession is not dead ; it is not confined to Prussia. It 
must make itself felt more and more in the politics of Ger- 
many ; and as it gained its first strength in the Napoleon times, 
so whatever it may do hereafter will be due in some measure 
to Napoleon. And again, small thanks to him for it. 

While I hold, then, that Napoleon did something to pro- 
mote the advance pf civil liberty in Europe, my great sur- 
prise would be, that one could hold his place and do so little 
for it. The truth is that progress in civil liberty is the des- 
tiny of Europe ; it belongs to the inevitable, irresistible tend- 
ency of things ; no human power can arrest it ; and even its 


greatest enemies cannot in spite of themselves help doing 
somethine for its furtherance. 


I REGARD this question as one not of mere curiosity, but of 
real practical importance ; important not only to the nations 
immediately interested, but to us also, who are fellow-actors 
with them in the great historic drama. No man of intelli- 
gence and education ought to hold himself apart — no man of 
enlarged mental activity and moral earnestness can hold him- 
self aloof — from the great world-movements of his time. He 
must take his attitude in regard to them ; he must have his 
sympathies ; he must be prepared to approve the right and to 
condemn the wrong, to uphold the beneficent and to oppose 
the harmful : and in order to this, he must have his reasons, 
intelligible to himself and statable to others, his theory of 
things, his conception of the world as it is, its condition, pur- 
port, and tendencies. Public opinion is only the general re- 
sultant of such individual conceptions ; it is the grand sum of 
such private opinions : and if the great aggregate is an 
immense force in the world, for good or for evil, it is the duty 
of every man to look carefully to that particular element of it 
which he himself contributes. Nobody, certainly, can doubt 
that our government has and will have an important influence 
in shaping the world as it is to be : what this influence shall 
be, is a thing to be determined ultimately by the views and 
feelings of the individual citizens. And therefore it is that I call 
this a question of real practical importance tcJ every one of us. 

The writings of Thomas Carlyle contain a theory of 
government — such as it is, undeveloped, unsystematic, yet 
still a theory of government — which I wish to speak of, be- 
cause Carlyle exerts a powerful influence on the public mind, 
and especially on the mind of young men ; an influence which 
I have felt powerfully myself, and see frequent traces of in 
others ; an influence in many respects most valuable, but all 
the more needing correction where it is wrong. Carlyle holds 


that the great object in government is that the people should 
be well governed, good laws passed with good sanctions, 
good roads and bridges made, good schools established, good 
connections formed with foreign countries, good measures 
taken for war and for peace — in short, that things should be 
well done for the people, that they should be thoroughly and 
effectually governed. Now this requires that the best man 
should be made governor ; the king, the true king, according 
to Carlyle's derivation, is the ' canning ' or able man, the 
* cunning' or knowing man ; he it is whom the Saxons called 
cyning, or 'king ;' he is de jure the king, the sovereign of his 
people. Gifted with faculty to discern what is best for the 
people, and with commanding energy to execute what he dis- 
cerns to be best, it is his right to rule ; it is the duty of others 
to obey ; and the more implicit and submissive the obedience, 
the better. This is the political creed of a man who deifies 
power, and above all power of will ; who does not scruple to 
say that even in this world might is right in the long run — a 
principle which has its relation to truth, but is as dangerous 
as its converse, that right is might in the long run, is always 
noble and elevating. That Carlyle should deride republican- 
ism, and especially democracy, is a natural consequence of 
this way of thinking. But in his scheme there are two fatal 
deficiencies ; he provides no answer for these two momentous 
questions : i. How we are to ascertain this canning cunning 
man who is to be our king — if without previous trial, by what 
criteria ; if with trial, by what system that shall afford fair 
field for all competitors ; 2. How we are to shift in the mean 
time ; how we are to get along, if he does not exist, until 
he does ; or, if he does exist unknown to us, how we are to 
get along until we know him. 

But the theory of Carlyle, like all absolutist theories, has 
another, deeper and more fatal deficiency. It assumes that 
the good of a government lies only in its ends — its acts, 
laws, measures and so on, — and that when these are given 
it matters little by what means they come about ; only, 
the simpler and more effectual the means, the better. You 
have only to consider the grist ; if that is good, the way 
of grinding is a matter of but little consequence. But gov- - 


ernment in its ideal perfection is valuable not only for its 
ends, the acts of government, but for its means also, the 
system of agencies and operations by which these ends are 
reached, these acts performed. One great design of govern- 
ment should be to serve as a grand educational establish- 
ment for the people, to call out, exercise, and train their 
mental activities. Of course, the highest earthly end of man's 
existence is the full harmonious development of all his facul- 
ties. For this end he should use every means that earth and 
man and human society can furnish him. Such means he finds 
in his own private life, its interests and cares and duties ; they 
are making continual demands upon his energies, and giving 
them the strength and discipline that come of constant exer- 
cise. But the community in which he lives furnishes a wider 
field ; the man who can take in its interests and provide for 
them, feel its cares, discharge its obligations, has a higher 
and more valuable cultivation ; he becomes a stronger, wiser, 
better man. Now go as far as you can go in this way — let a 
man feel that his country with its millions rests in part on him, 
that he has a substantive influence on its affairs, that he must 
throw that influence on the right side, that he must gain the 
information and insight necessary for this purpose — and see 
how far you have widened his sphere of thought and action, 
and what a powerful stimulus you have given him to mental 
exertion. This, now, is an object never to be lost sight of, an 
object of the highest moment, which is practically disregarded 
in every absolute government. An absolute government 
may provide as well as a republic for the material wants and 
interests of the people ; but the absolute government holds 
them in tutelage, and calls them and keeps them children ; 
the republic holds them in partnership, treats them as men, 
and makes them men. If I am a democrat, it is on this 
ground ; not because a democracy is the safest, strongest, 
quickest government, but because it is the manliest — it is a 
gymnasium for making men, strong-minded, vigorous, ac- 
tive men. This gymnastic training has its dangers, its pecu- 
liar difficulties and embarrassments ; but the advantages are 
more than worth the risks. It must be a gradual training, 
which does not at any time impose upon a people more than 


they can do, which goes on slowly from point to point, in- 
creasing the extent and difficulty of its exercises as the people 
advance in aptitude and strength. 

As popular self-government exercises the mental activities 
of a people, so these activities, if general and strong, require 
self-government as an arena for their development and train- 
ing. They may indeed seek and find for themselves some 
other vent — as, among the Spaniards of the i6th century, in 
wandering, adventure, and discovery ; or as, among the 
Germans of the present century, in an unprecedented cultiva- 
tion of literature and science. Yet even here among the Ger- 
mans we find this mental activity bursting the bounds within 
which despotic government would confine it, overflowing into 
politics, and working slowly and heavily but powerfully to- 
ward the repubhc of the future. You may find thus great 
mental activity under a despotism ; and it may seem peace- 
able enough for a time ; but there is always danger ; it is a 
subterranean fire, Vv'hich may become too fierce and strong 
for the vent that is left open, and so open for itself a vent by 
some great shock of earthquake that shall shatter the political 
edifice to its foundations. It was the mental activity that. il- 
luminated France with wit and science under Louis XV. 
which shook down the throne of his successor Louis XVI., 
and buried the monarch in its ruins. It was the mental activity 
of the Elizabethan age that broke out in the age of Charles 
into open resistance, and at length into successful rebellion. If 
we had the early history of Greece, we should probably find 
that the mental activity which produced the Homeric Epos in 
an age of monarchy was soon after occupied in overthrowing 
monarchy and setting up republican governments throughout 
the country. You may think of the Augustan age at Rome 
as a case that makes against me. But we have learned to re- 
gard the Augustan age as a period of outward show but real 
decline ; its culture was not the result of a genuine popular 
progress, an original movement of the national mind, but of 
an imitative fashionable dilettanteism. ^ 

Ifwe ask where it is that monarchy has been permanent 
from age to age, from the beginning until now, a thing undis- 
puted and indisputable — the answer must be, In the East, 


where human Hfe has a stereotype character, where thought 
and feeling and action stiflen in their moulds and grow more 
and more solid and unyielding. That the permanence of 
monarchy in the East is connected with this want of free 
spontaneous motion in the Oriental mind seems to me quite 
certain, though I would not say that this is a full explanatioir 
of the fact. There is a mystery about it which has not yet 
been penetrated — that monarchy should be so universal and 
indefeasible in the East, while in the West it has been so 
fluxing and unstable. But in the East monarchy is monarchy, 
worthy of the name ; it is the absolute supremacy of a single 
will. That will may be subject to a hundred influences, of 
court or camp, or priests or harem ; but such influences are 
irregular and accidental ; they do not belong to the system, 
they impose no constitutional restriction. The enthronement 
of a single will as the all-controlling centre of political life and 
action — that is the one political idea of the Eastern world. 
This absolutism is in fact essential to monarchy as a perma- 
nent system. If a constitutional restriction is interposed, it 
proves that the king is a king no longer ; that a power has 
arisen stronger than the king, able to limit and restrain him — 
the power that brought in the restriction. And in the natu- 
ral course of things this power goes on from more to more 
till it becomes predominant in the state. In most instances, 
this first encroaching and restricting power has been an aris- 
tocracy. The Homeric king was supplanted by his council of 
chiefs. The old Roman king was supplanted by the Senate 
of the Patricians, who reigned more despotically than the kings 
themselves. It was the nobles of England who extorted 
their great charter of privileges from the feeble John. 

The nobles of France were marching on to the same ascend- 
ency when the monarchs learned the art of pitting them against 
the communes, so as to exhaust them both, and establish that 
absolutism which rose to its highest glory under Louis XIV. 
If absolutism is to be overthrown in Russia, it will not be by 
the people, who are devotedly loyal to the Czar, but by the 
nobles, who have long been and still are disaffected and turbu- 
lent, ever ready to engage in conspiracy and rebellion. 

The gradual decline of royal power from steady progres- 


sive encroachment is best seen in the poHtical history of Eng- 
land. We cannot here trace its progress ; but we must in- 
quire into the result : What is the throne in England ? It is 
a political nullity, it is a mere titular dignity, it is a name, the 
shadow of a name — stat nominis umbra — it possesses no real 
authority, no substantial strength. It is like an old oak from 
which the heart has rotted out, which stands a mere shell, 
with the same form, but not the same strength which it had 
of old. It stands while the air is calm, but it will go down 
before the first great storm ; and so will the English mon- 
archy. The only sure support of a monarchy is loyalty 
among its subjects ; this is sufficient, and this is essential. 
But loyalty must itself have a foundation. What foundation 
has English loyalty ? Loyalty may be founded on the person- 
al qualities of the sovereign : on his superiority, real or sup- 
posed, in strength or courage or talents or character. Doubt- 
less the English sovereigns at present are worthy and respect- 
able people ; but such people are common in England ; 
something more than this is necessary. And even this may 
not continue ; it is little more than twenty years since George 
IV., a worthless debauchee, vacated the throne. Loyalty 
may be founded on the possession of power by the sovereign ; 
and this is most commonly its main foundation. The despots 
of the East have at least this claim on the devotion of their 
subjects ; it is reason enough for being loyal to a man if he 
can cut your head off when he pleases. But the king of Eng- 
land, or the queen of England, is powerless, and is coming 
to be more and more recognized as such. You may say that 
the king is still head of the State, and that this is a sufficient 
basis for loyal feeling ; certainly, if he were really so, and not 
a mere ornamented figure-head on the ship of state. The 
real head is the real sovereign ; and that is not the king, it is 
the House of Commons, or the constituency that elect the 
House. What then are the props of English loyalty ? They 
are tradition and habit. The queen, if not powerful herself, 
is descended from powerful Tudors and Plantagenets, and the 
feeling that belonged to them has come down to her, a tradi- 
tion and a habit. Evidently this is an insecure foundation ; 
less so in England than anywhere else, owing to the pecuHar 


tenacity of the people, their attachment to established forms, 
their submission to prescription and precedent. Still, it is in- 
secure, as anything must be which is founded on the past and 
has no root in the present. From the very constitution of 
our nature, the present must in the end prevail over the past ; 
it is always with us, and cannot be overlooked or forgotten. 
This English loyalty, resting as it does on tradition, could 
never be transferred to any new dynasty. If any collision 
should overthrow the present reigning house, no new one 
could be established in its stead ; the idea of setting up Wel- 
lington as king or Cobden as king in England would be 
simply ridiculous. Nor is such a collision strongly improba- 
ble. Suppose that an ambitious prince should arise, who 
should feel the degradation of his situation, and attempt to 
change his nominal kingship into a real one. The result would 
be a rev^olution, in which the princely aspirant must fall, as 
fatally perhaps as Charles I., and with no hope of restoration 
for his family. It would be folly to undertake to say when 
monarchy shall cease in England ; but the result in my view 
is inevitable, and probably not very far distant. English 
royalty has come to a minimum, and cannot be reduced with- 
out being destroyed. The situation of the country, the dis- 
tress of the laboring classes, the decline of manufacturing and 
commercial industry, must sooner or later bring about a 
crisis. The abolition of royalty, however, w'ill involve no 
essential change of government, for in substance the govern- 
ment is already republican. 

France is less fortunate. When monarchy was swept away 
there was nothing to replace it ; no republican institutions had 
existed before ; and it was not possible and never will be 
possible to build them up in a day, so to build them up as 
to make them strong and permanent. This, however, is cer- 
tain : that loyalty as a pervasive national sentiment is dead ; 
and therefore no substantial monarchy can be set up in 
France — neither Bourbons, Orleaners, nor Bonapartes can be 
for any long time sovereigns of France. 

Italy is notoriously without loyalty. Every throne in the 
peninsula rests on a basis of force, and is essentially a tyranny. 
Spain has more of loyalty ; Germany perhaps still more. 


Yet any one who should compare this century with the last, 
this generation with the last, would see an immense and most 
significant change in Germany — a change which is sufficiently 
evinced in the general demand of the German states for con- 
stitutional governments. 

The case is different with Russia : her people, half ori- 
ental in their character, have a perfectly oriental devotion to 
the person of their emperor. The throne in Russia is secure, 
to all human appearance, for a long time to come ; and it is 
the only secure throne in Europe. I used to think differently 
in regard to this whole subject. I wrote a disputation when 
in college to show that the progress of Europe was on the 
whole anti-republican. But the evidence is too strong for 
me ; I have been forced to acknowledge and recant my errors ; 
I am coming to feel more and more that the present is an ' 
age of transition ; the old order breaking up, the new one 
not yet established. You may compare it with the two cen- 
turies of Grecian history between established monarchy and 
established republicanism. Centuries of strife and tumult and 
revolution and usurpation, the period of tyrants. It would 
not be strange if this remarkable feature of ancient Greek 
history should reappear in Modern Europe. France, indeed, 
has already seen two tyrants, in the Greek sense of the word ; 
men who raised themselves by military force to an unconsti- 
tutional sovereignty. In this sense. Napoleon Bonaparte and 
Louis Napoleon are of the same class with Periander of 
Corinth and Pisistratus of Athens. Such governments, 
founded on force and not on law, cannot be permanent ; they 
can last at most 'only one or two generations, and will at 
length give place to a well-established republicanism. The 
same progress may be expected in Italy, and the same also 
in Germany. The only chance here is that the existing dy- 
nasties may make timely concessions, and so keep themselves 
on the throne until men are prepared for complete republican 
ism. If so, these countries will have the experience of Eng- 
land and not of France — they will make the transition from 
absolutism to republicanism through limited monarchies, and 
not through tyrannies. Many English writers have spoken 
of limited monarchy as if it were a great permanent form of 


government, like absolutism, or like republicanism ; and find 
it unpardonable in the ancients that they did not adopt it. 
Whereas it is rather, like tj'ranny, a transition form, assumed 
in the course of a nation's progress, but wanting the condi- 
tions of permanence, and subverted at length by the natural 
operation of the causes that produced it. We have passed 
through this stage ; and it was a fortunate circumstance for us, 
as it saved us from a succession of military tyrannies such as 
we see in our sister republics of South America, which had 
known nothing but absolutism up to the time when they 
began to struggle for their independence. Limited monarchy 
with us must have grown very feeble ; for the crisis of the 
Revolution, which in other respects made no great change in 
our institutions, was sufficient to destroy monarchy among us 
at once and forever. I believe that any great crisis in Eng- 
land would show that monarchy has but little more tenacity 

The general tendency of things in Europe appears to me 
certain and undeniable. How fast that tendency is advanc- 
ing, how soon it will reach its consummation, I for one will 
not venture to predict. Providence, says Guizot, is strangely 
and fearfully slow in its great enterprises. 

Neither is it possible to say what is ultimate. Republican- 
ism I believe will prevail over all western Europe ; but whether 
finally or forever is a different question. There have been 
causes gravitating in the opposite direction. Rome was a re- 
public ; her conquests in Italy, Greece, Africa, her great 
conquests were republics. And yet Rome became a mon- 
archy, the greatest that the world has ever seen, and her ex- 
ample has done more to sustain monarchy in modern Europe 
than all other causes put together. 



The human mind moves in two different worlds — theworld 
of reality, and the world of illusion. The objects of the 


former are matters of fact, things obvious to the senses or 
cognizable by logical understanding, susceptible of proof, 
certified by testimony or other evidence more or less con- 
vincing. The objects of the latter are imaginations and 
fancies, sentiments and presentiments, aspirations and en- 
thusiasms. They are not apprehended by logical under- 
standing, but recognized by intuitive perception ; certified, 
if certified at all, not by processes of reasoning, not by argu- 
ments which the understanding can analyze and appreciate ; 
whatever warrant of truth they have lies in their native 
power of attraction, in the response which they call out from 
unperverted feeling. They belong thus to what Tennyson 
calls " The truths that never can be proved." 

The objects of the first are substantial, positive, definite in 
outline, capable of being described by precise and intelHgible 
statements. The objects of the last are vague and shadowy, 
admitting no exact definition, bright often as rainbow colors, 
but like these without distinct boundaries, melting into 'each 
other by insensible gradations. Passing beyond the sphere 
of sense, transcending the experience of life, often laying 
hold of the infinite, they have no finite measures by which 
their dimensions may be ascertained, and their forms laid 
dow^n in plot. 

I have called these two the worlds of reality and illusion 
rather in conformity with ordinary views, than as describing 
their inherent nature. I do not mean to represent the latter 
as wholly illusory. It may be that our ideas, even those 
which we regard as least substantial, have a root in verity, 
and are destined to be realized in some form, in other spheres 
of existence and under other conditions of being ; and on the 
other hand, it may be doubted whether the reality, what we 
call such, what presents itself as such to our senses and intel- 
ligence, does after all conform so perfectly and exactly as 
we are apt to suppose to the absolute, interior, underly- 
ing reality of things as it appears to the view of God. Do 
not understand me as assuming the attitude of a Pyrrho- 
nist, a universal skeptic, calling in question the reality of 
everything which is generally received as reality. Our 
conceptions of the external world and of the properties which 


belong to it are necessary conceptions — not only that, they 
are necessary beliefs : even the Pyrrhonist cannot help be- 
lieving and acting on the belief that they are true, that they 
correspond to outward, objective reality. It is the height of 
folly to reject them, not to act upon them, to think of seeing 
round and beyond them. And yet we cannot help admitting 
there may be something beyond them, a deeper reality to 
which our faculties cannot penetrate. 

Not to discuss this point, let us go back to our tvvo worlds 
as we have endeavored to describe them. They belong, I 
say, to every mind. Perhaps no man can be found (unless 
wholly insane) who confines himself exclusively to either : 
none so absorbed in matter of fact that gleams of imagination 
and enthusiasm never penetrate the crust that surrounds him ; 
and none so devoted to imagination and enthusiasm as not 
sometimes to touch the terra firma of substantial realities. 
But if this exclusive attachment to one or the other sphere 
is never fully carried out, we occasionally find a near approx- 
imation to it ; and it is important for us to note the effects 
thus produced on mind and character. Rev. Mr. Hudson — 
Shakespeare Hudson^ as he has sometimes been called, from 
his lectures on Shakespeare — in an allusion to Dr. Tyng's 
preaching, described it — rather uncharitably, I fear, and un- 
truly, or with an unwarrantable exaggeration of truth — as 
"lean, hard, dry, bloodless, and bilious." These words de- 
scribe pretty well what is likely to become the character of 
the man who confines himself to the world of reality. The 
spirit of life evaporates, and the residuum is stale and flat: 
the finer elements of character give place to the coarser. The 
graceful, delicate, generous and honorable in feeling and ac- 
tion are connected with ideas and sentiments that lie with- 
out the sphere of plain substantial matter of fact. Their 
springs are in the ideal world ; if cut off from these, they dry 
up and disappear. On the other hand, the man who confines 
himself to the world of illusion, the world of day-dreams, 
loses robustness and power of action. Dwelling in the crea- 
tions of his own mind, without practical objects to call out his 
powers in vigorous and healthy exercise, he is something like 
Hudibras's sword, " whose trenchant blade, Toledo trustv,for 


want of using had grown rusty, and ate into itself, for lack of 
somebody to hew and hack." He becomes lachrymose, 
sentimental, querulous, and declamatory. His enthusiasm 
runs to waste for want of objects. Even imagination suffers 
by being deprived of food which it finds or ought to find in 
the objects of the real world. 

We see then that both these worlds are essential to the true 
development of mind and character. The man does best for 
himself who keeps strongest hold on both ; who combines 
sharp perception and keen enjoyment of practical realities 
with the glowing visions and high-soaring aspirations of the 
day-dreamer ; who walks in the clear light of the common 
everyday sun that rises and sets for all men, while lighted 
inwardly by " the light that never set on sea or shore, the 
imagination, and the poet's dream." But it is necessary to 
bear in mind constantly the essential distinctness of the two 
worlds, never allowing the imagination and enthusiasm to in- 
vest their objects with the character of reality, always remem- 
bering that air-castles have no foundation on terra firma, and 
are not built of solid brick and mortar. *This is a besetting 
evil of day-dreamers, and most fully and elaborately illustrated 
in the immortal prose poem of Cervantes — Don Quixote, a day- 
dreamer who confounds the two worlds of illusion and reality. 

It is necessary in another way to recognize their proper 
distinctness, by not mixing the language of one with the 
business of the other. The fault or weakness to which I refer 
is perhaps most often exhibited in Germany. It was a say- 
ing of Richter's, in the early part of this century (in the times 
of Napoleon), that to the British belonged the empire of the 
sea, to the French of the land, to the Germans of the air. 
Their kingdom is that of the day-dreamer. As a conse- 
quence one often finds among them, both in literature and in 
life, an overflow of enthusiasm. They are apt to mix up the 
business of common life with expressions of enthusiastic sen- 
timent, raptures and transport, which the English mind can- 
not help regarding as somewhat ridiculous. The mixture of 
transports and tea-drinking, roast beef and raptures, appears 
to it incongruous and absurd. The English perhaps go too 
far in the opposite direction, excluding the sentimental ele- 


ment from everyday life, and the ordinary intercourse of so- 
ciety. But I must confess, my own sympathies are with 
them. This day-dreamer life is or ought to be an inner life ; 
its light should not be beacon or bonfire for public gaze, 
but hearth-fire burning in the penetralia of mind, to light and 
warm the mental home. Its objects of faith and hope, its 
Lares and Penates, if you choose to call them so, are too 
sacred to be brought into rude and familiar connection with 
the coarseness and trivialities of everj'day life. A man 
should not forget, indeed, in the midst of practical life and 
business, that he has this inner world of thought and feeling. 
Its influence thus present with him will preserve him from the 
unfeeling coarseness of the merely practical man. But there is a 
great difference between this and an open exhibition or free 
public display of the inner life ; a great difference between 
showing in speech or action that one has feeling, and talking 
long or loud about one's feelings. It is the latter, not the 
former, that violates the instinct, and, as I believe, the true 
and proper instinct, of the Anglo-Saxon mind. 

We see then that day-dreaming is not only not detrimental 
to intellectual development, but, under right conditions and 
control, indispensable to the best mental development. 

So that I may conclude with the concluding words of 
Thekla in Schiller's wonderful lyric, which I must translate at 
great sacrifice of its ethereal beauty : — 

"Ever)' thought of beautiful, trustful seeming 
Stands fulfilled in Heaven's eternal day ; 
Shrink not then from erring and from dreaming — 
Lofty sense lies oft in childish play." 


The obvious fact about death is, that a certain living or- 
ganism, the living human body, in connection with which 
certain processes or functions manifest themselves — such as 
respiration, nutrition, muscular motion, nervous sensation, 


perception, volition — this organism becomes disorganized, 
and all these processes or functions cease to be manifested. 
Now the claim of immortality may be based on one or the 
other of two assumptions : either, i. the same organism will 
be reproduced hereafter, and the same functions or part of 
them again manifested in connection with it, and accompanied 
by consciousness of continued identity ; or, 2. the same func- 
tions may be exercised and accompanied by consciousness 
of identity, though not connected with the same organism as 
before ; may, in fact, go on without interruption, without 
being even suspended by death, though no longer manifested 
to us. Take an illustration. A mill is an organism — not in- 
deed a living organism ; something far less complex and mys- 
terious tlian that, but still an organism — and its function is 
grinding corn. The mill may be blown down by a hurri- 
cane, and the function of corn-grinding ceases to be mani- 
fested. But perhaps the scattered timbers will be put to- 
gether as before, and the same mill will perform the same 
corn-grinding function. Or perhaps the same identical corn- 
grinding which belonged to the demolished mill may be 
going on elsewhere in connection with another mill, unknown 
to us, or in connection with some wholly different and unim- 
agined system of apparatus. The assumptions in reference 
to the mill and the man, it may be conceded, are possible. 
But \.\\e prima facie probability is against them. We cannot 
entertain them even as probable, until supported" by some 
positive evidence. I know there are some who deny this, 
who maintain that mortality furnishes no presumption even 
against immortality, that the certain dissolution of the organ- 
ism with which all our human functions are connected, and 
apparent cessation of all the functions connected with it — 
that this does not constitute even 2. prima facie probability of 
their real or permanent cessation. I cannot take the same 
view of the question. To me, one of the most striking proofs 
of the inherent elasticity of the human mind, its irrepressible 
buoyancy, is, that death does not drive it to despair ; that, 
with such fearful indications of approaching annihilation, it 
dares to hope for immortality. What then are the evidences 
of immortality which can countervail the opposite presump- 


tion furnished by the phenomena of physical death ? I think 
it must be conceded, as to most of them, that singly they are 
not very strong, though their collective force may be, and in 
my judgment is, far greater. Let us pass them in review, or 
at least those most commonly urged, that we may see how 
far from decisive they are when separately taken, how plausi- 
bly they can be met and answered. 

And, in doing this, we shall zissume that the light of nature 
is sufficient to prove, notwithstanding all apparent difficul- 
ties, both the wisdom of God and the goodness of God. If 
the light of nature does not prove them, no light can ; for the 
strongest proof of Christianity, most decisive of its truth as a 
divine system of revealed religion, is its conformity to our 
natural reasonable ideas of God as all-good and all-wise. 

Thus it is said, the universal belief in immortality is evi- 
dence of its truth. We answer : the universal belief in im- 
mortality proves only that the cause from which it springs is 
universal. But this cause, it is said, can only be the obvious 
truth of the thing believed in. We answer : that cannot be 
obvious truth which lies so far remote from human knowledge 
and experience, and concerning which so many wise men 
have had their doubts. Then it is said, we must believe it to 
have come as an original divine communication to the parents 
of our race. We answer : there is no proof of such communi- 
cation, and no necessity for assuming it. The universal belief 
in immortality arises from the universal desire for it. Our 
faith is often the child of our wishes. When we long to find 
something true, we shut our eyes to all opposing evidence, we 
dwell constantly upon the arguments which favor it, till at 
length our judgment is satisfied, our belief is established. 

But, it is said, God would not allow us to have such desires, 
if they were not to be realized. We answer : God allows us 
to have many desires which are never realized. Such desires, 
though not directly satisfied, are still useful, by stimulating to 
exertion, by developing faculties, or in some other way. And 
even so in this case. The impulse which makes us desire 
immortality is not only useful but necessary. For love of 
immortality is at bottom love of life. We cling to life while 
we can, and when death plucks it from us, we cling to the 


hope of recovering it, Alcestis-like, from the grasp of death. 
Now the love of Hfe, which appears also as the love of immor- 
tality, is essential to the well-being of man and of society, 
essential even to their being at all. If love of life were ex- 
tinguished, the world would come to an end. Again it is said, 
the mind of man does not attain its perfect development on 
earth. We answer: it is not the order of nature that every- 
thing should have perfect development. Thus of plants, how 
many perish in the earlier stages of growth, how many are 
dwarfed and stunted by unfavorable circumstances, by barren 
soil, ungenial climate, by ravages of insects, and a thousand 
other causes : how few probably attain the highest perfection 
of which they are in their own nature capable ! So it is with 
the physical constitution of man and beast ; so it is with the 
mental faculties of brutes. Not every dog or elephant is al- 
lowed to cultivate to the utmost the often wonderful sagacity 
and intelligence with which he is endowed by the Creator. 
Would you have an immortality for each and all of these, that 
they may come to their maximum development ? But again 
it is said, there are in nature analogies for immortality, the 
germination of seed after its rotting in the ground, the trans- 
formation of insects, the phenomena of sleep and fainting. 
We answer : there are no analogies in nature for life after 
death; i. e. for continuance of the function, after the organism 
on which it depended has become disorganized. Grind the 
seed, and it will never germinate ; crush the chrysalis, and 
no butterfly will burst from it. Dr. Beaumont's man digested 
his food, though he had lost a bit of his stomach ; but could 
digestion have continued if the whole stomach had perished ? 
A man may feel and think with only a part of his brain ; but 
can thought and feeling go on without any brain at all ? 

This brings us to what is generally thought the strongest ar- 
gument for a post-mortem existence : viz. the immateriality of 
the soul. Thought and feeling, it is said, are not attributes of 
bodily organism, but attributes of something very different, 
something which uses bodily organism for its various purposes ; 
especially for communicating with other somethings like itself. 
Of course, when its instrument gives out, it can no longer 
make such communication to others, but it is not impaired in 


its own inherent powers and activities. Now I am far from 
denying the immateriahty of the soul, yet I think this harder 
to prove than its immortahty. That which is used as proof 
of immortahty, the premise, is more difficult to be established 
than the conclusion. The question, observe, is not whether 
thought and feeling are material ; they are attributes, and of 
course immaterial ; but the question is, whether the substance 
to which the attributes belong is material : i. e. whether it is 
the same substance which possesses the attributes of gravity, 
impenetrability, and the like. Now it is said, these two sets 
of attributes are so different — thought and feeling on the one 
hand and gravity and impenetrability on the other — that we 
cannot suppose them to inhere in the same substance. This 
is the great argument, in fact nearly the \\ hole argument, for 
immateriality. But it is greatly weakened by the fact that in 
regard to substance we know nothing whatever, can know 
nothing whatever, except that certain attributes belong to it. 
What its internal nature and constitution may be we know 
not ; what its capacity for taking on other widely different 
attributes may be, we know not. The organic life of a plant 
is something very different from gravity and impenetrability. 
That subtle and mysterious activity which converts shapeless 
water and lime and potash, the materials of the dung-hill, into 
beautiful structures of leaf and flower and fruit, is surely very 
different from the ordinary properties of matter. Shall we in- 
feF, then, that the life of a plant is not an attribute of the mat- 
ter composing it, that the plant has an immaterial soul ? Or, 
if we shrink from this, where shall we begin to find the imma- 
terial soul ? Is it in the sponge, which occupies the debatable, 
border between the animal and vegetable kingdoms ; in the 
polyp, which is stomach only, a membranous bag — you may 
turn him inside out, and he will live as well as before ; in the 
tape-worm, which you may cut into twenty pieces, and each 
will live for itself, twenty souls carved out of one ; in the bi- 
valve, which lies at the bottom of the sea, allowing water to 
stream through his pulpy body, making his living by digest- 
ing the animalcules it contains ? All these have properties 
very different from the ordinary attributes of matter ; proper- 
ties which pass by insensible gradations, as you ascend the 


scale of being, to the complex mental phenomena, thought, 
feeling, and intelligence, of the dog or elephant. Shall we 
give them all immaterial souls, and wonder whether human 
arithmetic can enumerate the spiritual units contained in that 
stratum of mosquitoes, twenty feet thick, which has rested for 
ages on the banks of the Orinoco ? Now I say these things, 
not as denying the immateriality of the soul, but to show how 
little it can be depended on as a positive argument for immor- 
tality. On the other hand, the materiality of the soul, if ad- 
mitted, is far from a decisive argument against immortality. 
For if the material inheres in a body as substance, this body 
may eventually be reproduced with a,ll the conditions essential 
to conscious identity. Or, very possibly, the substance in 
which the material soul inheres may be a mere attendant form 
of matter, capable of existing independently of the body, 
though not capable of manifesting itself to us except in con- 
nection with an organic body, 

I have thus far omitted intentionally what seem to me the 
two weightiest arguments for immortality — in fact, sufficient 
in my view to countervail the apparent presumption from the 
phenomena of death : lirst, the apparent disciplinary char- 
acter of human life, which certainly appears like a course of 
training and preparation for something beyond it, and be- 
comes much more intelligible if regarded in this light ; and 
second, the difficulty of reconciling the moral order of the 
world with our ideas of the divine justice, natural and reason- 
able ideas of the divine justice, if human existence is con- 
fined to the present life. This difficulty is shown very strik- 
ingly in the two books of the Bible, Job and Ecclesiastes. It 
is an extraordinary fact that the Old Testament Hebrews, 
though not wholly without the idea of existence after death, 
had yet no distinct idea of future reward and punishment. 
An extraordinary fact, I say, considering that the Egyptians 
and Phoenicians, heathen nations around them, had this idea 
fully developed, and exciting a powerful influence, especially 
on the Egyptians. But the Hebrew, in his habitual conceptions 
as seen in the Old Testament, looked for manifestations of 
divine justice in this life without reference to another. It is 
impossibl®, however, that the reflective should remain per- 


manently insensible to the difficulties of this view. That they 
did not remain so appears from those two books, which in 
fact turn upon these very difficulties. Both probably belong 
to the later books of the Old Testament : Job, written per- 
haps not very long before the captivity in Babylon ; Eccle- 
siastes, probably some time after the return to Palestine. In 
both, the great burden is this : the differences of human Ufe 
and fortunes do not correspond to differences of moral char- 
acter. How then can we vindicate the justice of God, and the 
claims of duty ? In Job the conclusion is : God is strong 
and wise ; man is weak and ignorant ; presume not to ques- 
tion where you cannot understand. In Ecclesiastes the con- 
clusion is : virtue on the whole is the best and happiest for 
this life ; practise it with moderation of desires and cheerful 
enjoyment — that and only that is true wisdom. That neither 
of these should have fallen upon the solution furnished by 
the doctrine of immortality is certainly extraordinary, and 
may perhaps go to show that the natural evidence of this is 
not so clear as is frequently supposed. That is my own be- 
lief — that the light of nature, when all directed to this ques- 
tion, does furnish a presumption in favor of immortality ; 
but not so strong a presumption as to exclude great and 
reasonable doubt upon the subject. 



A VEGETARIAN (dietarian) book was written by a Dr. 
Cheyne, one hundred years ago. He was a high liver, and 
tended to corpulency, till his weight rose to four hundred 
pounds, so that he could not enter a coach door. He then 
thought it time to retrench, starved himself to two hundred 
pounds, was much encouraged by success, and wrote a book 
on the advantages of starvation. I have never seen it, but can 


easily believe it useful for gentlemen of four hundred pounds 
weight, who cannot enter a coach door. 

The dietetic movement in this country, so far as I know, 
commenced with a v/ork pubHshed in 1827 by President, then 
Professor, Plitchcock, of Amherst College, entitled " Dys- 
pepsia Forestalled and Resisted." Dyspepsia was then epi- 
demic, spreading gradually over the country and becoming a 
fashionable disease. It appeared first in Boston, and travelled 
eastward. The doctors in Springfield and Hartford were 
much amused when they first heard of the new disease in 
Boston ; they thought it a new Boston notion. By-and-by it 
came to Springfield ; the Hartford doctors were still incre- 
dulous. Then it reached Hartford, and the Middletown doc- 
tors thought it a city fashion. But they got it themselves in 
time, as country people get all city fashions. Dyspepsia is 
now on the decrease, there being much less of it than twenty 
years ago. 

Dr. Hitchcock was a dyspeptic in the palmy days of dys- 
pepsia, when the disease was a name of dread. His work 
made a great sensation. I can recollect hearing it talked of 
in early youth. I remember well the astonishment and horror 
with which we heard that every man, woman, and child in 
the United States ate on an average at least twice as much 
as he, she, or it ought to eat. Another statement I remem 
ber was, that somebody had sustained life a year on a hen's 
Qgg per diejn. Anything more than this, it was implied, 
tended to evil. They may have drawn the argument from 
the Roman description of dinner, as proceeding ab ovo usqtie 
ad mala. 

The name more commonly associated with the vegetarian 
movement in the popular mind is that of Sylvester Graham. 
His abilities, not inconsiderable, were perhaps more than 
equalled by his own estimate of them. If any man ever lived 
and died in assured confidence of posthumous fame, it was 
he. Though neglected, he said, by contemporaries, posterity 
would do him justice. There was really some good reason 
for hope. His name will be in many mouths, along with 
his bread and crackers. These articles are favorites with not 
a few who neutralize their virtues by the deleterious decoc- 


tions of coffee and chocolate, and the poisonous poultrj- or 
pastr}^, swallowed at the same time. He had some ground 
of complaint against his contemporaries and neighbors, who 
did not always treat him with proper respect. One of them, 
passing his house one morning, saw the doctor picking up a 
basket of chips : " Ah," said he, " baking-day at your house ? " 
Dr. Graham w^as" much offended, but without remedy. 

Prominent among dietists is Dr. Alcott, the author of sev- 
eral pleasantly written books, and conductor of the monthly 
Library of Health. In the latter, I remember an article on 
mince-pie, showing that, if its component parts were to ar- 
range themselves in the stomach each by itself according to 
its specific gravity, there would be no less than eighteen 
layers or strata in the stomach. As it was not shown that 
they do assume any such stratification, or that, if they did, 
harm would come of it, the argument was a little inconclusive. 

The most learned man among vegetarians was Dr. Mussey, of 
Dartmouth, afterward of Cincinnati. It is said that he made him- 
self dyspeptic by high living, and then cured himself by ab- 
stemious regimen — abstemious in quality, I mean ; for the quan- 
tity of potatoes he consumed was astonishing to ordinary eat- 
ers. His dietetic lectures I had the pleasure of hearing. They 
were very capital lectures : quiet, clear, and finished, with 
plenty of anecdote and illustration, and with a certain 
dry, quaint, subdued, but caustic humor, peculiar to himself. 
His wit and wisdom were too much for a youth of sixteen, 
and I must confess myself to have been carried away for a 
time. I gave up tea and coffee, beef and butter, mince-pie, 
even, for a month, perhaps ; possibly for two ; quite up to the 
average length of his conversions — and then went back to the 
old way, adapted my principles to my appetites, and have so 
continued to this day. I need not be ashamed of being con- 
verted to vegetarianism by Dr. Mussey, for it is said that the 
Doctor himself was later converted from vegetarianism by an 
Orang Outang. Two of those mock humanities were put on 
shipboard for this country, and fed of course on vegetable 
food, as being that which they have in their native woods. 
One fell sick, and, in spite of all therapeutics, died. The 
other also sickened, and seemed to be going the same way 


as his companion. One day, however, his chain being 
loosened, he made a spring for a table not far ofif, on which 
was a roasted chicken. He devoured the chicken with the 
greatest eagerness, and, instead of languishing, seemed to 
feel the better for his meal. Th6 hint was taken, the same 
diet was continued, and the fellow reached this country at 
length in capital health and spirits. Dr. Mussey laid great 
stress on the dietetic habits of Orang Outangs, Chimpanzees, 
and the other nearest congeners of man ; and it is said that, 
hearing these facts, he gave up his opposition to flesh meats — 
whether permanently, I am not informed. 

Two faults of reasoning are to be observed in Dr. Mus- 
sey's lectures. He assumes, first, that if a thing is injurious in 
a large quantity, it is injurious also in a small quantity, 
though in a less degree ; if a pound will do injury, an ounce 
will do a sixteenth of the same injury. Dr. Mussey, so as- 
serting in the American Temperance Convention, was op- 
posed by Bishop Potter of Pennsylvania, with a parallel case. 
An atmosphere of carbonic acid gas would kill you > and 
hence the minute fractional part which is always and necessarily 
present in the atmosphere must be proportionally deleterious. 
Second, to determine the wholesomeness of an article of food, 
he looks at its effect on a weak stomach. Again and again 
in his lectures, he says of a particular article of food that a 
w.eak stomach cannot digest it, and therefore it should not be 
used. He might as well say that, as weak persons cannot 
take long walks, long walks are fatiguing and exhausting to 
the physical energy ; and therefore long walks should not be 
taken. He might as well say that the blacksmith should not 
use his sledge-hammer, because a little boy would break 
down in the attempt to wield it. That the weak should rule 
the strong, the healthy stomach submit to the unhealthy, is 
against the law of nature. Let dyspeptics legislate for them- 
^Ives, but let them not- seek to establish a dyspeptic 
despotism over the eupeptic world. 

The principal argument of the vegetarian is that man*s phy- 
sical organization is analogous to that of herbivorous, not car- 
nivorous animals. There is no doubt that our teeth, our sto- 
mach, and our alimentary canal are widely different from those 


of the dog or wolf; and it is a fair inference that dog's meat 
is not proper for us. But what is a dog's meat, adapted to 
his teeth and stomach, adapted to his active habits and in- 
stinct? It is raw flesh. The dog wants flesh, and cannot 
cook it ; he will take it raw ; and for this he is fitted by his 
physical organization. The vegetarians resolutely ignore the 
*' effects of cookery, not noticing that a similar argument could 
be used against their favorite diet. For we might say that, as 
raw potatoes are unwholesome, the use of potatoes as food 
should be discarded. 

Examples are brought to show that the highest degree of 
physical vigor can be maintained without animal food. The 
strongest case is the story told by traveller Buckingham, of 
powerful fellows from Nepaul, the lower slopes of the Hima- 
laya, who had come down to Calcutta to exhibit feats of 
strength. They were matched against British sailors, and 
were always superior. The Indian athletes are restrained by 
their religion from eating flesh meat, of which the. British sailor 
makes free use. There is, perhaps, some room for doubt, but 
two things may be said of the comparison : first, the inclina- 
tion and necessity for meat is far less within the tropics than 
without ; and second, warm climates are far more enervating 
to men of northern origin than to the native of India. 

The Scripture argument which the vegetarians bring for- 
ward is, that in the grant to Adam only vegetable food is 
named, no animal. The omission is probably not accidental, 
for the idea of maintaining life by the slaughter of animals is 
repugnant to our conceptions of the Paradisiac state ; but the 
whole condition, physical, spiritual, and moral, of the Paradi- 
siac world is so different from that of the actual, that no argu- 
ment can be drawn from it. In the grant to Noah, animals 
are allowed as food ; but, as the vegetarians say, only because 
men would have it — like divorce in the Mosaic law, allowed 
on account of the hardness of men's hearts. Only, cookery is 
required ; since this is supposed to be meant by "flesh with 
the life thereof, which is the blood, thou shalt not eat." Still, 
though cookery diminished the evil, human life, under the de- 
leterious diet, fell off" from Methuselah's nine hundred and 
sixty-nine years to the threescore and ten of the Psalmist. 


The hope is that, by going back to Methuselah's Graham 
bread and potatoes, we shall gradually, in the course of gen- 
erations, get back to his longevity — the new millennium of life 
on earth. 

We have never been much troubled with vegetarian fanati- 
cism here, but in some places it has been mischievous. It has 
often happened that a young man has got an idea that the less 
he eats, the better for him, and so has confined himself to 
brown bread, and a minimum allowance even of that. If very 
strong, he bears up under it, until he overhves his delusion, 
or is brought by appetite, example, or custom, into the ordi- 
nary way. But, if not strong, he sinks under it, and especi- 
ally if he has any tendency to constitutional disease ; which 
there is nothing more likely to develop. I have in mind the 
case of an excellent young man, who in my belief hastened, 
if he did not cause, his own death in this way. 

Students need animal food not less than laboring men ; 
rather, more ; they do not need more of it, but they have more 
need of it. A man who can digest a peck of potatoes at a 
time can live upon potatoes alone, for he can get enough nutri- 
ment to sustain life and vigor. But the less hardy stomach 
requires more concentrated diet, so as to have nutriment 
enough without being overloaded. 

If I were to legislate on diet and regimen, my rules would 
be few and simple. In regard to exercise, take a good deal 
of it, unless from early days accustomed to a very sedentary 
life ; but not too soon after eating a hearty meal. 

In regard to eating — eat what you want ; eat nice things, 
eat as much as you want of them, unless you find by clear 
experience that something disagrees with you ; but eat only 
at meal times, and take no meals, edible or potable, late at 
night. And, last not least, trust to your stomach ; do not 
be continually watching over it and criticising it, but believe 
it will get along without your help ; and, above all, think as 
little as possible about your diet. 




WE find in the first book of Kings, sixth chapter and 
first verse, a definite chronological statement, assigning 
the interval in years between the departure of the Israelites 
from Egypt and the commencement of work in the erection of 
Solomon's temple. " And it came to pass in the four hundred 
and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out 
of the land of Kgy^pt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign 
over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, 
that he began to build the house of the Lord." In this pas- 
sage, however, the Septuagint version, the oldest and beyond 
comparison the most important of the versions, presents us 
with a different number — four hundred and forty years, in- 
stead of four hundred and eighty. Th^3 is a remarkable 
variation, and we shall have occasion to return to it in the 
sequel. At present, it is enough to observe that the number 
of our Hebrew text is unquestionably ancient, since it ap- 
pears in other ancient versions ; it appears, indeed, in all the 
other ancient versions which were made directly from the 
Hebrew ; we may therefore fairly conclude that in the early 
centuries of our era, when those versions were made, the 
number four hundred and eighty was the general and current 
reading of the Hebrew manuscripts. Whatever discrepancy 
may have existed among MSS. in the earlier period of the 
LXX. translators, the number four hundred and eighty had 
apparently become the approved and established reading. 

It is a well-known fact, however, that this number, four 
hundred and eighty years, for the interv^al between the Exo- 
dus and the building of the temple, is at first view inconsist- 
ent (and the smaller number of the LXX. would still more be 


inconsistent) with the particular designations of time scatter- 
ed through the earlier historical books of the Old Testament. 
Let us look at these numbers, in the order of the Biblical 
history. First, for the prolonged desert wanderings under 
the lead of Moses, which followed the Exodus from Egypt, 
the Pentateuch assigns a period of forty years. Next, the 
book of Joshua (xxiv. 31) informs us that " Israel served the 
Lord all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders that 
overlived Joshua," but does not assign any definite term of 
years for the days of Joshua himself, or for those of the sur- 
viving elders. After those unassigned periods, the chronolo- 
gy of the book of Judges opens with the first apostasy of the 
Hebrew people — or rather, with the punishment which follow- 
ed that apostasy. In this book we find the following series 
of numbers, which, according to the obvious appearance and 
natural impression of the work, if not according to its real 
intent, denote successive periods of time : — 


Servitude under Chushan Rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia. ... 8 

Deliverance by Othniel, son of Kenaz, and subsequent rest. ... 40 

Servitude under Eglon, king of Moab 18 

Deliverance by Ehud, son of Gera, and subsequent rest 80 

Ascendency of Shamgar, son of Anath, time not stated 

Oppression of Jabin, king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. ... 20 

DeUverance by Deborah and Barak, and subsequent rest. ..."... 40 

Oppression by the Midianites 7 

Deliverance by Gideon, and subsequent rest 40 

Reign of Abimelech, son of Gideon 3 

Tola, son of Puah, a man of Issachar, judges Israel 23 

Jair, a Gileadite, judges Israel 22 

Oppression by the Ammonites 18 

Deliverance by Jephthah the Gileadite, who judges Israel 6 

Ibzan of Bethlehem judges Israel 7 

Elon, a Zebulonite, judges Israel 10 

Abdon, son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, judges Israel 8 

Oppression by the Philistines 40 

Samson, son of Manoah, judges Israel 20 

In regard to this last number, it is not certain that the writer 
intended to represent the twenty years of Samson as succeed- 
ing the forty of Philistine oppression : for his language is, 
Samson "judged Israel in the days of the PhiHstines twenty 


years." It is possible, therefore, that he conceived of Sam- 
son's twenty years as included in the forty of Philistine op- 
pression. However this may be, it is the only instance in 
which the language of the book lends any plausible color to 
the assumption that the times above stated are not to be re- 
garded as successive each to the preceding. Let us suppose 
for the present that the twenty here was thought of as follow- 
ing the forty ; and let us add together the whole series of 
numbers presented by the book, from the invasion of Chu- 
shan-rishathaim to the death of Samson. We obtain an ag- 
gregate of four hundred and ten years, with an uncertain 
blank for the time of Shamgar, the successor of Ehud. If, 
now, to this four hundred and ten we add forty years 
for Eli, who according to I. Samuel iv. 18 judged Israel 
forty years, we have a total of four hundred and fifty years 
for the period of the Judges, as reckoned from the first 
chronological indication in the book of that name on to the 
opening of Samuel's judgeship. Now in Acts xiii. 20, we 
find Paul in the synagogue of Antioch, while describing in 
brief outline the early history of his people, saying that God 
" gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and 
fifty years until Samuel the prophet." This is an important 
passage, not only as showing that the numbers which now 
appear in the book of Judges stood there in the first century 
of our era, but also because it proves that they were then re- 
garded as designating consecutive periods of time. For, ac- 
cording to the only natural and unforced interpretation of the 
apostle's words, they assign the duration of a period during 
which God was giving judges to his people, a period begin- 
ning at the time when he began to give them judges, and 
ending with the accession of the prophet Samuel. And the 
duration assigned for this period, viz. four hundred and fifty 
years, is precisely that which results from the numbers in 
Judges and Samuel, on the supposition, which is strongly 
favored if not absolutely required by the language of those 
books, that the numbers stand not for contemporaneous but 
for successive times. 

The death of Eli was followed by the judgeship of Samuel 
and the kingship of Saul. For these, no term of years is as- 


signed in the Old Testament narrative. Paul, however, in 
the address just quoted, says (Acts xiii. 21) that when the 
Israelites desired a king, " God gave unto them Saul the son 
of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty 
years." It is possible that this term of forty years may have 
been intended to cover the whole interval from the close of 
the four hundred and fifty years mentioned just before to the 
accession of David, which is mentioned directly after. If so, 
it would include the time of Samuel's ascendency, as well as 
that of Saul's dominion. To David, the Old Testament it- 
self ascribes a reign of forty years. If we add this forty and 
the forty years of wandering in the desert to the sum of four 
hundred and fifty before obtained for the Judges, we have an 
aggregate of at least five hundred and thirty years between 
the Exodus and Solomon, or fifty years more than the four 
hundred and eighty named in I. Kings vi. i. We might, 
indeed, avail ourselves of the doubt in regard to Samson, and, 
by reckoning his twenty years of judgeship under the forty 
years of Philistine oppression, might reduce our aggregate to 
five hundred and ten. But even this is thirty years beyond 
the mark of I. Kings ; and it must be still further increased, 
when \Ve come to consider the two certain and important gaps 
in our series, one for Joshua and the elders after him, the 
other for Samuel and Saul. 

The statement in the book of Acts gives forty years appa- 
rently to Saul alone, though meant possibly both for Samuel 
and Saul. At all events, we could not allow less than fifty 
years to Joshua and the elders, Saul, and Samuel together. 
We should thus swell our aggregate to an amount exceeding 
by eighty or one hundred years the interval assigned by the 
writer in I. Kings. A discrepancy at once so obvious and so 
large could not fail to attract attention. Much effort and in- 
genuity have been expended in harmonizing the discordant 
statements. The methods which have been suggested for 
this purpose, though considerably numerous, rest for the 
most part upon the same leading assumptions. These are : i. 
that the number four hundred and eighty years given in I. 
Kings must be accepted as the true and exact statement of the 
interval in question ; and 2. that the period apparently in- 


eluded in the book of Judges must be shortened by making 
the times in that book, not all successive, but more or less 
contemporaneous. I do not propose to criticise these 
schemes, or any one of them, in detail. But two or three re- 
marks may be made which are applicable to all : i. In itselt 
it is not by any means improbable, but rather, considering the 
disordered state of Palestine after the Hebrew conquest, the 
imperfect subjugation of the old inhabitants, the isolation of 
the different tribes, the want of national centres, of common 
government and of concerted action — considering these facts, 
I say, we must acknowledge it as not improbable that the 
different parts of the country were subject to diflferent for- 
tunes, that they were oppressed at the same time by different 
assailants, were delivered by the heroic conduct of different 
chiefs, and recognized the authority of different judges. In 
itself, it is not improbable that the oppressions, deliverances, 
authoritative judgeships, described in the book of Judges, were 
partial and not general ; confined each to particular sections 
of the people, and going on contemporaneously in different 
portions of the land. To such an extent might we concede 
this, without any violation of historic probability, as to reduce 
the period of the Judges even more than is required to har- 
monize its chronology with the statement in I. Kings. 2. 
Nevertheless, this view of the events recorded in the book of 
Judges, as if they were partial and contemporaneous, seems 
scarcely consistent with the conception of the writer. From 
beginning to end, from the oppression of the Mesopotamian 
king to the heroic death of the Danite champion, he treats 
the people as a whole. As a people they apostatize from the 
Lord, as a people they are punished by oppressive mvasion, 
as a people they return to the Lord with repentance and 
^confession, as a people they receive deliverance from the 
foreign yoke and submit to the authority of the deliverer. 
The more we read the book, and the more attentively we 
study its plan as announced in the second chapter and car- 
ried out in the sequel, the more strong becomes our impres- 
sion that the writer in his own view is recording a series of 
national judgments, which fall successively for good and for 
evil on the whole Hebrew nation, the children of Israel. In 


passing from one to another, he almost invariably uses lan- 
guage which implies succession. The only exception is at 
the beginning of the sixth chapter, where he says : " and 
the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord." 
Though, even here, the connection would seem to show con- 
clusively that he views this evil-doing as subsequent to the 
rest which, according to the previous verse, the land (that is, 
the whole land — there is nothing to suggest the idea of apart) 
had enjoyed for forty years. But everywhere else he says 
" and the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the 
Lord ; " thus marking their conduct as a succeeding and later 
instance of apostasy. So he says : " And after Abimelech 
there arose — Tola;" "And after him arose Jair ; " "And 
after him (Jephthah) Ibzan judged Israel;" "And after him 
Elon ; " " And after him Abdon." We cannot be surprised, 
therefore, when we find St. Paul assigning as the period of 
the Judges a number of years equal to the aggregate of all the 
numbers contained in this book (increased, of course, by 
Eli's forty years), as if the events and conditions to which 
they belong were all successive. 3. The schemes referred to 
rest upon no positive foundation, and have no absolute prob- 
ability. At most, we can only say of them, it is possible 
that things may have taken place in this way. The com- 
pleteness with which they solve the problem, and cut down 
the chronology of the Judges to a dimension consistent with the 
statement in Kings, is far from being decisive as to their truth. 
For the problem, by the nature of its conditions, is essentially 
indeterminate — indeterminate we .might say in algebraic lan- 
guage, because there are more unknown quantities than fixed 
relations between them ; it admits, as the facts show, a con- 
siderable variety of solutions, and might equally well be solved 
in several different ways, if the standard number were as 
given in the Septu^gint, four hundred and forty years, instead 
of four hundred and eighty. 

But 4. I remark, in regard to these attempts at reconcilia- 
tion, that they overlook a very important feature in the 
chronological statements which they propose to harmonize, 
and must therefore of necessity fail to give satisfaction. By 
taking this into account, we may hope, not indeed to arrive 


at the solution of the problem, but at least to throw light up- 
on its nature and conditions. 

If we recur to the series of numbers which we before 
gave, as belonging to the period from Exodus to Solomon, 
and examine them attentively, we cannot fail to be struck 
with the frequent repetition of the number forty. It stands 
for the wandering in the desert, the rest under Othniel, the 
rest under Deborah and Barak, the rest under Gideon, the op- 
pression of the Philistines, the judgeship of Eli, and the king- 
ship of David — that is, seven times in a series of twenty-one 
numbers, or once in every three numbers. Now this circum- 
stance alone is enough to show that there is something pecu- 
liar in the chronology we are dealing with. Let us compare 
it with some other chronological series — e.g. the reigns of 
Solomon's descendants, the kings of Judah. Among these 
we may omit two or three reigns of a year or less — numbers 
so small could hardly find place in the more sketchy history 
of the earlier times. There remain seventeen designations 
of time, of which we find forty years for Jehoash and forty- 
one for Asa : only two in the seventeen which are anywhere 
in the vicinity of forty. Or, let us look at the sovereigns of 
England from the Ngrman Conquest — thirty-four in number 
extending through eight centuries, and including an uncom- 
monly large proportion of long reigns : here we find no reign 
of forty years ; one (Henry VI.) of thirty-nine, one (Henry 
VIII.) of thirty-eight ; and only six out of the thirty-four 
which come within a half-dozen of the forty, on one side or 
the other. But the case as regards the use of forty in this 
early Hebrew chronology is not yet fully stated. The only 
large number beside forty which occurs in the series, the 
only other number which rises above five and twenty, is that 
given for the rest which followed the deliverance by Ehud ; 
and this is eighty years — that is, twice forty. Now this rela- 
tion may be accidental : I mean, there is no absolute impos- 
sibility in the supposition that the periods of time referred to 
should have had this precise ratio to each other. But it must 
be owned, I think, that the chances are very greatly ag*ainst 
it. That a series of historic times given with historical ex- 
actness, or nearly so, should contain seven forties in twenty- 


one numbers, is exceedingly improbable ; but that the only- 
remaining number which is more than twenty-five should, be 
twice forty, adds much to the improbability. We may fairly 
say that the appearance of twice forty in this place is, under 
all the circumstances, a fact as surprising and as much requir- 
ing explanation as if forty itself had been the number ; and 
consequently, in estimating the character of this chronology, 
we may fairly consider ' this as another repetition of the 
number forty. But yet again, we find twice forty years 
assigned (Ex. vii. 7) for the life of Moses prior to the 
Exodus, and this a New Testament passage (Acts vii. 23, 30) 
divides into two periods of forty years each. It is an 
education of forty years at the Egyptian court, followed by a 
wandering life of forty years among the Midianites of the 
desert, that prepares him to act during another forty years, at 
once as the law-giver of his people and the leader of their 
desert wanderings. And lastly, as David, the great national 
hero and conqueror of the Hebrews, has a reign of forty 
years, so we find forty years assigned to the peaceful but 
splendid reign of his successor, the builder of the temple 
and the last monarch of the united people. And we have al- 
ready noticed in the book of Acts a statement, resting per- 
haps on a tradition as ancient as the Old Testament, which 
gives the same period to the first in the great triad of national 
Hebrew sovereigns, the warlike but unfortunate founder of 
the Hebrew monarchy! We find thus in the chronology 
from Moses to Solomon inclusive no less than eleven repeti- 
tions of the number forty ; or twelve, if the eighty after 
Ehud's deliverance be reckoned, as it fairly may, in this cate- 

Now the view here presented of the facts seems to suggest 
— and not only that, but almost to require — the conclusion 
that we have in this narrative traces of an artificial chrono- 
logy, proceeding by periods of forty. I should call that a 
natural chronology which, in stating known times, should give 
them with exactness, or nearly so ; and, in regard to others, 
should estimate them as nearly as it knew how, if there were 
means for estimating them, and if not, should leave them un- 
determined, either expressly or tacitly^confessing ignorance. 


On the other hand, I call that an artificial chronology in 
which the times, instead of being stated thus or left unstated, 
are determined in whole or in part by assumptions or allow- 
ances of an arbitrary or systematic character. Thus, if forty 
years should be assumed as a general expression for any 
period of considerable length — as for instance the reign of a 
king who remains some time upon the throne, or the duration 
of a peace which has some degree of permanence : a chronol- 
ogy proceeding on this assumption, and assigning forty years 
to particular facts or states of such a character, would be to 
that extent an artificial chronology. Or, if forty years should 
be assumed as the length of time for a generation, a chro- 
nology proceeding upon this assumption, and assigning this 
period to the public activity of particular individuals who 
should take their place in a series of generations, would again 
be so far forth an artificial chronology. These modes I sug- 
gest merely by way of illustration. Whether the chronology 
we are considering involves either of these assumptions, or 
whether its peculiar character is to be explained in some dif- 
ferent way, I do not at present undertake to decide, nor is 
it necessary to do so. That it has traces of something dif- 
ferent from a precise historical chronology results from the 
extraordinary predominance of the number forty, and results 
equally, whether we can find a plausible explanation for it or 
not. The best explanation we can suggest may be encum- 
bered by serious difficulties : but those difficulties will not 
affect the evidence which seems to force upon us the conclu- 
sion already stated — that this series of numbers in the early 
Hebrew history from Moses to Solomon, nearly half of them 
forties, bears traces of what may be called in the sense just 
explained an artificial chronology, proceeding in some way by 
forties. It is not easy to see how this result can be avoided 
except by supposing a kind of miracle, by assuming a special 
divine interference, which gave to an extraordinary proportion 
of early Hebrew times the exact or approximate length of 
forty years. It is hardly necessary to add that I use the term 
artificial here in no invidious sense, and without in the least 
meaning to imply any unjustifiable deviation from historic 
accuracy ; much less any purpose of concealing their own 


ignorance, or of misleading others, on the part of the ancient 
Hebrew chroniclers. It may have been observed that, in 
speaking of this series of numbers, I do not say it is a chronol- 
ogy proceeding by forties, but that it contains traces of such a 
chronology. For, mixed up with the forties in the book of 
Judges, we find other numbers of a definite and apparently 
historical character — thus, for the oppressions by the Meso- 
potamians, Moabites, Canaanites, Midianites, and Ammo- 
nites, we have the numbers eight, eighteen, twenty, seven, 
and eighteen years. For Abimelech we have three years, for 
Tola twenty-three, for Jair twenty-two, for Jephthah six, for 
Ibzan seven, for Elon ten, for Abdon eight, for Samson 
twenty. And even in regard to the forty, I would not be 
understood as saying that it is in every instance unhistorical, 
or that it is so in any particular instance ; but only that the 
concurrenice of so many forties in a chronological series of 
this extent can hardly be looked upon as historical. 

Let us proceed now from what seems nearly certain to 
that which is more doubtful. We started at the outset with a 
particular chronological number in I. Kings, and, in comparing 
this with a series of numbers scattered through the earlier 
history, we found a discrepancy between them. We then ex- 
amined the discrepant series, and discovered in it the traces 
of a peculiar chronology, proceeding by forties. It becomes 
then a fair question whether thediscrepant number in I. Kings 
may not itself have the same character. Now, singularly 
enough, the number in question (four hundred and eighty 
years) is the precise aggregate of twelve forties. Of course 
this fact alone would be of little weight, if in the remaining 
chronology the number forty had no special prominence. In 
that case, the fact that four hundred and eighty consists of 
twelve forties would be no more important than the fact that 
it contains sixteen thirties or thirty sixteens. The significance 
of the fact lies in the coincidence that four hundred and 
eighty should be an exact multiple of the particular number 
which figures so largely in the detailed chronology. Such a 
coincidence is a priori improbable. The chance that two 
events remote in time should be found to be separated from 
each other by a number of years which is divisible by forty 


is only one chance in forty, if the interval is given with exact- 
ness. And the present case is one in which we should ex- 
pect that the writer, if the precise number of years had been 
present to his mind, would have stated it precisely, instead 
of contenting himself with a loose approximation. For the 
statement is not a casual one, suggested in passing ; it stands 
prominently forward at the opening of the section, and ap- 
pears to be regarded by the writer as fixing the relation in 
time between the two grand eras of Hebrew history. More- 
over, the expression is peculiarly distinct and circumstantial ; 
not " Solomon began building the temple four hundred and 
eighty years after the Exodus ; " but " it came to pass in the 
four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were 
come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solo- 
mon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second 
month," etc. But, waiving this point, and supposing that the 
writer might have contented himself here with a loose state- 
ment of the interval, with giving it in round numbers by the 
nearest ten, still the d priori chance that the number even as 
thus stated should be an exact multiple of forty is but one in 

We cannot help thinking, therefore, that the relation of four 
hundredand eightyto forty iscalculated to suggest the conjec- 
ture (and that with some degree of force) that the statement 
in I. Kings may be founded on a chronological method, such as 
we have before been criticising. And this conjecture receives 
some color of plausibility from the various reading of the 
LXX. (four hundred and forty for four hundred and eighty) 
to which we have already adverted : at least, that variation 
makes it apparent that a similar idea was entertained as early 
as the time of the Septuagint translators. For, in the first 
place, this must be regarded as an intentional, not an acci- 
dental variation. That is, whichever of the two was the 
original number, the other was the result of a conscious and 
calculated alteration. As it will make no difference in the ar- 
gument, we may assume, what appears to be most probable 
in itself, that four hundred and eighty was the original read- 
ing, and four hundred and forty either a change made by the 
LXX. translator or one which he found already made by some 


one else, and represent^^d in the MS. from which he render- 
ed. It is true that Winer and Thenius explain the variation 
as arising by accident from a confusion between the Hebrew 
letters eighty and forty. But there are these two things to 
be said against This : i. That the letters in question, though 
a good deal like each other in the present Hebrew square 
character, have much less resemblance in the ancient forms 
of the Phoenician inscriptions and the Maccabean coins, and 
therefore, so far as we can judge, were not particularly liable 
to be confounded in MSS. of older date than the LXX. ver- 
sions. 2. Aside from such a special resemblance, we must 
hold it in a high degree improbable that a purely accidental 
variation should preserve the extraordinary characteristic of 
the original number — that of being exactly divisible by forty. 
The chances against it can hardly be less than six to one. 
We think it highly probable, therefore, that we have here an 
intentional variation — such as are well known to exist on a 
larger scale in the patriarchal chronology of Genesis, ch. v, and 
xi. ; — where there is no doubt that the difference is the result of 
calculation on one side or the other, and perhaps on both. 
But if any one designedly reduced the number from four hun- 
dred and eighty to four hundred and forty, he must have re- 
garded the four hundred and eighty as made up by the addi- 
tion of forties, and have satisfied himself in some way that 
too many forties by one had been allowed in the calculation : 
in other words, he must have as belonging to an 
artificial chronology proceeding by forties. Now it is cer- 
tainly quite supposable that the author of this variation was 
mistaken in his view of the original number ; but, at any 
rate, it is a remarkable circumstance, to which we can hardly 
refuse some degree of weight, that the possible relation (as 
we have presented it) between the four hundred and eighty 
of I. Kings and the forty of the detailed chronology was ob- 
served not more than three centuries, and perhaps much less, 
after the completion of the books of Kings. 

But there is an important circumstance which lends a fur- 
ther degree of plausibility to the supposition that the number 
in I. Kings vi. i is to be regarded as an aggregate of so 
many forties. We have reason to believe that the most 


complete and exact genealogical registers preserved among 
the Hebrews gave eleven or twelve generations for the inter- 
val from the Exodus to the building of the temple. If among 
the family lists for that period which we find in the book of 
Chronicles we had to choose the one which could with most 
probability be relied upon for exactness and completeness, we 
should have no hesitation in taking that which gives us the 
descendants of Aaron, the family which inherited the preemi- 
nent dignity and consequence of the high-priesthood. Now 
here we find (I. Chron. vi. 50-53) twelve generations enu- 
merated, beginning with Aaron and closing with Ahimaaz the 
son of Zadok. Ahimaaz, it will be remembered, was a con- 
temporary of David, though certainly a younger contempo- 
rary, since his father Zadok was still living at the commence- 
ment of Solomon's reign. If therefore — I present it merely 
as a supposition — if on the basis of this genealogj' one should 
undertake to assign the number of generations between the 
Exodus and tlie building of the temple, he would give twelve 
or eleven, according as he included or excluded Ahimaaz, 
the last in the series. But in the same connection we find 
two other genealogies, commencing with Levi and ending re- 
spectively with Asaph the Gershomite and Ethan the Mera- 
rite, whom " David set over the service of song in the house 
of the Lord, after that the ark had rest." In the former of 
these we find from first to last fifteen generations. Now in 
the high-priestly series just mentioned, the fourth from Levi is 
Aaron. If, then, in the lineage of Asaph we suppose the one 
named fourth from Levi to have been a contemporary' of 
Aaron, we find here twelve generations subsequent to the 
Exodus. The lineage of Ethan gives us, on the same suppo- 
sition, eleven generations. It is true that the lineage of 
, Heman the Kohathite, a third chief of the temple singers, 
which we find in the same chapter of I. Chronicles, appears to 
give us twenty-two generations from Levi, or nineteen from 
the Exodus to the time of David. It is also true that the re- 
maining genealogy which spans the chasm of the Judges, I 
mean that of David's ancestors, assigns only eleven genera- 
tions from Juda the brother of Levi to David himself, which 
on the same supposition as before would give eight genera- 


tions from the Exodus. Whatever may be thought of these 
series, either absolutely or in their relation to each other, the 
interesting fact remains, that a majority of the whole- num- 
ber, and among them that one which would seem most likely 
(judging ^/r/^n") to be exactly and completely given, make 
either eleven or twelve generations between the Exodus and 
the erection of the temple. Now it is a well-known fact that 
among the Hebrews the number forty was used as a score is 
with us, for a large indefinite number. It would not be sur- 
prising, therefore, if a Hebrew author, in making a chrono- 
logical estimate, should allow forty years for a generation, 
though this is certainly beyond the real mark ; the true aver- 
age for a generation being probably not much more than 
thirty years. In this manner we might find a plausible ex- 
planation for the four hundred and eighty of our Hebrew text, 
and a plausible explanation at the same time for the four hun- 
dred and forty, the early and remarkable variation of the 
LXX. The difference of those numbers would be accounted 
for by the recognition either of twelve or of eleven genera- 
tions, both of them naturally suggested by the genealogical 
series, for the interval in question. 

But if the number four hundred and eighty may have been 
founded on a reckoning of twelve generations at forty years 
each, we can hardly doubt that in the view of him who first 
assigned it, whether the compiler of I. Kings or some one 
before him, it would be connected with the forties of which 
so many are found in the Pentateuch, Judges, and Samuel. 
The forty years' wandering under Moses, the forty years of 
Othniel, the twice forty of Ehud, or perhaps Ehud and Sham- 
gar together, the forty of Deborah and Barak, the forty of 
Gideon, the forty of Philistine oppression, including perhaps 
the deliverance of Samson, the forty of Eli, and the forty of 
David, would give nine forties. It can hardly be doubted 
that forty more would be allowed for the generation of Joshua 
and the elders who survived him ; and again, forty more for 
the generation of Samuel and Saul. This would make eleven 
forties or four hundred and forty years, the number of the 
LXX. As for the remaining forty of the Hebrew text, it 
might be made by allowing two generations for Joshua and 


the elders, or by allowing two for Samuel and Saul. Both 
of these suppositions, however, appear improbable. The 
elders Avho overlived Joshua would most naturally be viewed 
as belonging to the same generation ; and Samuel would ap- 
pear to have continued his prophetic activity until late in the 
reign of Saul. Another supposition is suggested by the 
contents of the book of Judges. The principal figures of 
this book are Othniel, Ehud, Deborah and Barak, Gideon, 
Jephthah, Samson. These alone deliver Israel from an actual 
subjugation by foreign oppressors. Their actions receive a 
prominence in the narrative, and are rehearsed for the most 
part with a minuteness, altogether in contrast with the brief 
and passing notices of the remaining judges. Each one of 
these is introduced with a statement that the children of 
Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord ; that the Lord in con- 
sequence delivered them into the hands of a particular enemy, 
to whom they were subject for a specified time ; that the 
people then, in their distress, cried unto the Lord (this particu- 
lar is omitted only in the case of Samson), and that an indi- 
vidual hereupon appeared to act with divine sanction as the 
deliverer and judge of his people. None of these particulars 
is found in the case of Shamgar, Tola, Jair, Ibzan, Elon, 
Abdon. Now it is a curious fact that the number forty 
occurs only in connection with the former class of judges, and 
it is found in connection with all of them excepting Jephthah. 
This coincidence in a large number of particulars may warrant 
the suspicion that there was once complete coincidence where 
we- now find a single exception. It seems not unlikely that 
the minute account of the six heroic deliverers may have 
come from a source in which only they appeared, with a 
chronology by forties for all of them, Jephthah not excepted ; 
while the brief notices of the remaining six judges, and per- 
haps all the precise numbers* of the book, are derived from 
other sources. The number four hundred and eighty then 
may have come, not from our present book of Judges, but 
from the source referred to, with its chronology of forties 
only. I am aware how little certainty can attach to conjec- 
tures of this kind, even when suggested by the obvious fea- 
tures of the works to which they relate. But the object is 


not to show how the four hundred and eighty actually was 
connected with the forties of the earlier narrative — for this 
we could hardly hope to render certain — but only to show 
how it may have been connected. 

Another argument which has its bearing upon the subject 
is founded upon a connection with Egyptian history. It is 
well known that Manetho, in a long extract quoted by Jose- 
phus c, Apion, i. 26, describes a great removal of leprous 
and unclean persons from lower Egypt under Osarsiph, an 
apostate priest of Heliopolis, who afterwards (he says) as- 
sumed the name of Moses. This transaction is referred by 
Mahetho to the reign of Menophis or Amenophis (as the name 
stands in the text of Josephus), who is identified by what ap- 
pear to be convincing proofs with Menephta, a king of the 
XlXth Egyptian dynasty. His reign, according to Lepsius, 
extended from 1328 to 1309 (ace. to Bunsen, 1325-1307) ; 
and, if so, preceded the building of Solomon's temple by little 
more than three centuries — a period much less than the four 
hundred and eighty or four hundred and forty years which 
we have been criticising, though sufficient to allow about 
eleven generations of the ordinary or average length, and pos- 
sibly not incompatible with twelve generations in a particular 
case, where the average may have chanced to be rather 
smaller than usual. But into this argument I do not pro- 
pose to enter. To determine the degree of weight which 
should be given to it would require an extended discussion, 
demanding at once more Egyptological science than I can 
lay claim to, and more time than my hearers could well 
afford me. I shall content myself with having stated the 
considerations which appear to be suggested by a critical 
view of the Hebrew sources ; and will only add a word in 
conclusion, to guard against a possible misconception of 
my meaning. 

'When pointing out in the detailed Chronology from Moses 
to Solomon the extraordinary repetition of the number forty, 
and inferring thence the peculiar character of this chronology, 
I represented the conclusion as one which it seemed to me 
not easy to avoid. As to the other point — that the same 
peculiar character may perhaps belong to the four hundred 


and eighty of I. Kings — I am far from intending to speak 
with anything Hke equal confidence. I have aimed to repre- 
sent this as a conjecture, to which a number of circumstances 
lend more or less of plausibility, but by no means as a proved 
or ascertained result. It is no doubt much more difficult to 
establish any such conclusion as to a single number, which 
overleaps centuries at a bound, than for an extended series, 
where the disproportionate frequency of one designation fur- 
nishes evidence hardly to be resisted. But the intrinsic diffi- 
culty of obtaining evidence in regard to the historical exact- 
ness of the four hundred and eighty does not justify us in as- 
serting that it is inexact or unhistorical without sufficient evi- 
dence to prove it so. And I confess that the evidence in this 
case — apart from that which may be furnished by 4;he Egyp- 
tian history, for that I do not feel myself prepared to criticise 
— the evidence to be derived from biblical sources alone, does 
not appear to me by any means decisive against the histori- 
cal character of the number. At the same time, I am free to 
acknowledge that I cannot look upon it as I should if the cir- 
cumstances here brought together had no existence ; and that 
my faith in the commonly received chronology of the early 
ages, which rehes on this number as a bridge to overpass the 
chasm that separates historical from patriarchal times, is far 
from being clear and confident. 

One word more, in acknowledgment of obligations. The 
idea that the period of four hundred and eighty years in I. 
Kings was determined by a series of generations reckoned at 
forty years each is said to have been suggested by Gehringer, 
in a program Ueber die biblische Acre, published at Tubingen 
in 1842. This I have not seen : its author appears to have 
maintained, nevertheless, the historical exactness of the num- 
ber, and to have rearranged the chronology of the Judges in 
order to make it harmonize with this statement. The same 
idea is developed with much clearness and caution by Ber- 
theau of Gottingen, in the introduction to his Commentary 
on the Judges, published in 1845, as a part of the Exegetisches 
Hatidbuch for the Old Testament. It is controverted by 
Thenius, in his Commentary on Kings published in 1849 ^s a 
part of the same manual. It is taken up and carried out still 


further, with abundance of learning, by Lepsius, in his great 
work. Die Chronologie der JEgypter. These are the sources 
from which I have derived in great part the materials for this 




THE subject of this article is not the language used by 
the writers of the New Testament, but the language of 
'its speakers, the actual language of the discourses and conver- 
sations which stand reporteci in the Greek of the ^ew Testa- 

On the question, What was the prevailing language of 
Palestine in the time of our Saviour? there has been great 
difference of opinion and much earnest controversy. Some 
have maintained that the mass of the people spoke Aramaic 
only ; others that they spoke Greek only ; and yet others that 
they were acquainted with both languages, and could use this 
or that at pleasure. To understand the merits of the case, the 
simplest way will be to take up each of the two languages in 
question, and trace the indications of its use among the Pales- 
tine Jews of the first century. 

We begin then with THE ARAMAIC (fhe Jewish-Aramaic 
or Chaldee, in distinction from the Christian-Aramaic or 
Syriac dialect). It is not unlikely that the long intercourse, 
friendly and hostile, between the Kingdom of Israel and its 
Aramaean neighbors on the north, especially the Syrians of 
Damascus, may have produced some effect on the language 
of the northern Israelites. But the effect must have been 
much greater when the Kingdom of Israel was overthrown by 
the Assyrians, the higher classes carried into other lands, and 
their places filled by importations from tribes of Aramaean 
speech. In the siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrians, a few 
years later, it appears from the proposal of the Jewish chiefs 
to Rabshakeh (II. K. xviii. 26) that the Aramaean language 
was understood by the leading men of the city, though unin- 


telligible to the people at large. The course of events during 
the next century must have added to the influence of the 
Aramaic in southern Palestine, until at length the conquest 
by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian captivity gave it a 
decided preponderance. Surrounded for two generations by 
speakers of Aramaic, the Judaean exiles could not fail to ac- 
quire that language. It may be presumed that many, perhaps 
most of them, still kept up the use of Hebrew in their inter- 
course with one another ; but some, doubtless, forgot it alto- 
gether. After the return to their own land the Aramaic was 
still required for communication with many brethren out of 
Palestine or in it, and with the officers or agents of the Persian 
government, which seems to have made this the official lan- 
guage for the provinces between the Tigris and the Mediter- 
ranean (comp. Ezra iv, 7, 8)- The progress of the change 
which made the Hebrew a dead language, and put the Ara- 
maic in its place as a living one, cannot be distinctly traced 
for want of literary monuments. But the result is certain ; it 
was complete at the Christian era, and may have been so two 
or three centuries earlier. It is true that the New Testament 
in several passages speaks of the Hebrew as if still in use ; 
but in some of these (John v. 2 ; xix. 13, 17) it is evident 
from the form of a word described as Hebrew {B-qOeaSd, 
Taj3^a6a, ToX'yoOa) that the Aramaic is meant, the current 
language of the Hebrew people. In many other cases, where 
words of the popular idiom are given in the New Testament, 
but without being called Hebrew, they can only be explained 
from the Aramaic; thus Matt. v. 22, paKci; vi. 24 (Luke xvi. 
9, 13), fiaficova<i ; xvi. 17, ySap'Iwm ; Mark v. 41, raXiOa kovjjh; 
vii. 34, i<j)^a6d ; xiv. 36, 'A^^d ; John i. 43, Kq<^d^ ; Acts i. 
19, ' AK€\Sa/u,d ] I. Cor. xvi. 22, [xapav add — to which add the 
words pa/3^L, pa^/Sovvi, fi€a-o-ia<i, irdaya, and proper names 
beginning with Bar ('son'). By Josephus, too, the name 
Hebrew is often used to denote the popular Aramaic : thus 
khania., 'red' (Ant. ii. \,% i), ')(avaim^ 'priests' (iii. 7, §i), 
'Aaap6d, ' Pentecost' (iii. 10, § 6), i/xlav, 'priest's girdle' (iii, 
7, § 2), all of which he designates as Hebrew, are evidently 

That this Jewish- Aramaic was not confined to a fraction of 


the people, but was in general and familiar use among the 
Jews of Palestine in the first century, is proved by a variety 
of evidence, outside of the New Testament as well as in it. 
Josephus speaks of it repeatedly (B. J. pr. § i, v. 6, '^ 5, v. 9, 
§ 2) as 77 7rdrpio<; yXayaaa, the tongue of the fathers and father- 
land, or, as we should say, the mother tongue, the native, ver- 
nacular idiom. As such he contrasts it with the Greek, which 
he describes (Ant. pr. <^ 2) as aXKoSaTrfjv rj^lv koI ^€in)<i 
hiaXeKTOv avvrjOeLav, * a mode (of expression) alien to us and 
belonging to a foreign language.' From Josephus we learn 
(B. J. V. 6, ^3) that, in the siege of Jerusalem, when the 
watchman on the towers saw a heavy stone launched from the 
Roman catapults, he cried in the native tongue " the missile 
is coming ; " he would, of course, give warning in the language 
best understood by the citizens at large. Josephus himself, 
when sent by Titus to communicate with the Jews and per- 
suade them to surrender, addressed the multitude in Hebrew 
(B. J. V. 9, § 2), which he would not have done if the language 
had not been generally intelligible and acceptable. For fur- 
ther proof we might appeal to the Targums or Chaldee para- 
phrases of parts of the Old Testament, of which the oldest, 
that of the Pentateuch by Onkelos, was probably written not far 
from the time of Christ ; but it is possible that these Targums 
may have been composed, not for the Jews of Palestine, but 
for those of Babylonia and the adjacent countries ; as Josephus 
states (B. J. pr. § i) that the first edition of his own history 
was composed in the native tongue (t^ iraTpiw) for the Bar- 
barians of the interior {Tol<i dveo ^ap^dpoi^). Of more 
weight as proof of a vernacular Aramaic in Palestine is the 
early existence of a Hebrew gospel {i. e. an Aramaic, or, as 
Jerome calls it, Syro-Chaldaic gospel, " Chaldaico Syroque 
scrmo7ie conscriptum "), commonly ascribed to the Apostle 
Matthew. Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, who flourished in the 
first half of the second century, speaks of such a book, and 
holds it for the composition of the Apostle. He may have 
been mistaken as to the authorship ; but as to the existence 
of an Aramaic gospel at a very early period, there is no 
sufficient ground to discredit his testimony. It appears then 
that there was a body of people in Palestine during the first 


century to whom it seemed desirable to have the gospel in 
Aramaic, perhaps not solely as being more intelligible, but as 
recommended also by patriotic or sectarian feeling. 

Turning to the New Testament, we find it stated (Acts i. 19) 
that when the catastrophe of Judas became known to the inhab- 
itants of Jerusalem, the place where it occurred was called ' AKiK- 
Sa/jid, ' field of blood,' a name clearly Aramaic ; and that it was 
called thus rfj IBla BiaXeKTo) avTwv, * in their own dialect.* 
This does not imply that the Aramaic belonged to the inhab- 
itants of Jerusalem exclusively, so as to be spoken by no 
other population ; nor that it belonged to them as their only 
language, so that no other tongue was spoken in the city ; 
but that it belonged to them more properly than any other 
tongue which might be spoken there, which could only be 
true of the native vernacular, 97 nrdTpiO'^ j\co(raa. A strong 
light is thrown on this whole subject by the account of Paul's 
address to the people of the city (Acts xxi. 27 fif.). The 
Apostle, having been rescued by the chief captain from a mob 
who sought to kill him, was about to be taken to the castle ; 
but was allowed at his own request to address the multitude. 
" And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto 
them in the Hebrew tongue." "And when they heard that 
he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more 
silence." (Acts xxi. 40; xxii. 2.) It is plain that he took 
them by surprise. If they did not know him for a native of 
the Greek city Tarsus, they had heard him charged with 
bringing Greeks into the temple ; and they expected him to 
use the Greek. When they found him speaking Aramaic, 
they showed by their greater attentiveness that they were not 
only surprised but gratified ; not that a Greek address would 
have been unintelligible, and perhaps not on account of any 
prejudice against the language, but because the speaker, by 
adopting an idiom that was peculiarly their own, evinced his 
respect for their nationality, his sympathy with their feelings, 
and, as it were, made himself one of their number. 

Of our Lord himself it is expressly stated that on three oc- 
casions he made use of the Aramaic : when with the words 
rdXida KovfML he raised the daughter of Jairus (Mark v. 41) ; 
when with i(f>(f}a0d he opened the ears of the deaf man (Mark 


vii. 34) ; and when upon the cross, paraphrasing the first 

words of Psalm xxii., he cried eX<wf, eXwt", Xa/xa (ja^a-yQavL 
(Mark xv. 34 ; in Matt, xxvii. 46, ^\t, ^Xt, XTy/ia aa^a^yQavi). 
It is hardly supposable that among all his utterances recorded 
in the Gospels these three were the only ones for which he 
used the native idiom of the country. Yet it is not easy to 
say why out of a larger series these alone should be given in 
the original form. In the last case it seems probable that the 
Aramaic words actually uttered by our Lord were given by 
the writer, to explain how it was that some of the bystanders 
conceived him to be calling on Elias. As to the other two, it 
is noteworthy that they appear in only one of the Evangelists. 
The miracle wrought with the word icfxfiaOd is found in Mark 
alone : the miracle wrought with ToKtda kov/j,i is found in Luke 
also, but the words ascribed to our Lord (viii. 54) are Greek, 
17 Trat?, iyetpov — showing how unsafe it is in other cases to 
conclude that he spoke Greek because he is not said to have 
spoken Aramaic. It is not an unlikely supposition that in 
these two instances the narrative of Mark reflects the impres- 
sions of an individual, whose mind was peculiarly struck by 
the stupendous effect instantly following, and seemingly pro- 
duced by, the utterance of one or two words, so that the very 
sound of the words became indelibly fixed in his memory. 
That the same subjective impression was not made in other 
cases of the same kind, or that being made it did not find its 
way with uniformity into the narrative, are both easily con- 
ceivable. There is, however, yet another instance in which 
our Lord is expressly stated to have spoken Hebrew (Aram- 
aic) : in his appearance to Paul when journeying to Damascus. 
Of this event there are three narratives (Acts ix. , xxii., xxvi.) ; 
and here again it is worth noticing that among the parallel 
accounts only one (xxvi. 14) alludes to the fact that the lan- 
guage used was Hebrew. An able writer, who holds that 
Christ seldom spoke Hebrew, suggests that he used it on this 
occasion to keep his words from being understood by Paul's 
companions. But if these companions failed to hear or to 
understand the voice (Acts ix. 7 ; xxii. 9), it is not safe in an 
event of this nature to infer their ignorance of the language. 
And it is quite supposable that the use of Hebrew here be- 


longed to the verisimilitude of the manifestation, Jesus ap- 
pearing to this new apostle not only with the form in which 
he was known to the Twelve, but with the language in which 
he was accustomed to converse with them. 

The influence of THE Greek in Palestine began with the 
conquest by Alexander. The country fell under the power 
of Macedonian rulers, the Ptolemies of Egypt, and afterwards 
the Seleucidae of Syria, with whom Greek was the language 
of court and government. It was used for the official cor- 
respondence of the state ; for laws and proclamations ; for 
petitions addressed to the sovereign, and charters, rights, or 
patents granted by him. The administration of justice was 
conducted in it, at least so far as the higher tribunals were 
concerned. At the same time, commercial intercourse be- 
tween the countries under Macedonian rule came into the 
hands of men who either spoke Greek as their native tongue 
or adopted it as the means of easiest and widest communica- 
tion. Partly for purposes of trade and partly as supports for 
Macedonian domination, colonial cities were planted in these 
regions, and settled by people who, if not all of Hellenic 
birth, had the Greek language and civilization, and bore the 
name of Greeks. Such influences were comnaon to the 
countries about the eastern Mediterranean ; and their effect 
in all was to establish the Greek as the general language of 
public life, of law, of trade, of literature, and of communica- 
tion between men of different lands and races. It did not in 
general supplant the native idioms, as the Latin afterwards 
supplanted those of Gaul and Spain : it subsisted along with 
them, contracting but not swallowing up the sphere of their 
use. Its position and influence may be compared with those 
possessed, though in a much inferior degree, by the French 
language in modern Europe. The sway of the Greek ex- 
tended to lands never conquered by Alexander. To a lan- 
guage so capable, so highly cultivated, so widely diffused, so 
rich in literature and science, the Romans could not remain 
indifferent, especially when the regions where it prevailed 
became part of their empire. Long before the Christian era 
a knowledge of Greek was an indispensable element in the 
training of an educated Roman. In the reign of the Em- 


peror Tiberius, under whom our Lord suffered, we are told 
(Yal. Max. ii. 2, 3) that speeches in the Roman Senate 
were often made in Greek. The emperor himself, acting as 
judge, frequently heard pleadings and made examinations in 
it. (Dion. Cass. Ivii. 15.) Of the Emperor Claudius, a few 
years later, it is said (Sueton. Claud. 42) that he gave audi- 
ence to Greek ambassadors speaking in their own tongue, and 
made replies in the same language. 

The people of Palestine were subjected to Hellenizing in- 
fluences of a special character. Their Seleucid rulers, not 
content with the natural operation of circumstances, made 
strenuous efforts to impose upon them the Greek culture and 
religion. The great national reaction under the Maccabees, 
provoked by these efforts, was of no long duration. The Ro- 
mans became masters of the country ; and must have given 
new force to the Greek influences to which they had them- 
selves yielded. It cannot be doubted that the Roman ad- 
ministration of state and justice in Palestine was conducted in 
the Greek, not the Latin language. The first Herod who 
reigned for many years under Roman supremacy was mani- 
festly partial to the Greeks. Caesarea, which he founded, and 
made, after Jerusalem, the greatest city in the land, was 
chiefly occupied by Greek inhabitants. Of many other cities 
in or near the Holy Land, we learn, mostly from incidental 
notices, that the population was wholly or partly Greek. 
Thus Gaza, Ascalon, Joppa, Ptolemais, Dora, as well as Cae- 
sarea, on the western sea-coast ; Tiberias and Sebaste in the 
interior ; and on the east and northeast, Hippos, Gadara, 
Scythopolis (or Bethshan), Pella, Gerasa, Philadelphia, and 
perhaps the remaining cities of the Decapolis. It is obvious 
that the Jews must have been powerfully affected by so many 
Greek communities established near them and connected 
with them by manifold political relations, and especially the 
Jews of Galilee, surrounded as they were and pressed upon 
by such communities. 

While many Greeks were becoming settkd in Palestine, 
Jews in yet larger number were leaying it to establish them- 
selves in all the important places of the Grecian world. With- 
out losing their nationality and religion,, they gave up their 


Aramaic mother-tongue for the general language of the people 
round them. Had the Jews of Egypt retained the native 
idiom, the first translation of the Scriptures would probably 
have been made in Aramaic, and not in Greek, Even Philo 
of Alexandria, an older contemporary of our Lord, gives no 
evidence in his voluminous and learned writings of an ac- 
quaintance with either Hebrew or Aramaic. But these Jews 
of the dispersion frequently returned to their fatherland ; they 
gathered in crowds to the great national festival ; and in per- 
sonal communication with their Palestinian kindred, did much 
to extend the use of their adopted language. In many cases 
they continued to reside in Palestine. Thus we hear (Acts 
vi. 9) of one or more synagogues of Libertines (Jewish freed- 
men from Italy), Cyrenians, Alexandrians, Cilicians, and 
peoples from western Asia Minor. That many would con- 
tent themselves with their familiar Greek, as being sufficient 
for the ordinary purposes of communication, without taking 
the trouble to learn Aramaic, is a fact which can hardly be 
doubted. It is generally believed that the Hellenists men- 
tioned in Acts ix. 29, and (as converts to Christianity) in Acts 
vi. I, were persons of this sort — separated from those around 
them not by speaking Greek (for most others could do so), but 
by speaking only Greek. The satisfaction which Paul gave 
by his use of Aramaic (Acts xxii. 2) makes it easy to under- 
stand how such persons, who being settled in Palestine dis- 
dained to acquire the native idiom, might be looked upon 
with coldness or disfavor as a class by themselves, especially 
if they showed, as may often have been the case, a weakened 
attachment to other features of the national life. 

The Greek version of the LXX. did much to make the 
Greek known and familiar to the Jews of Palestine. The 
original Hebrew was an object of scholastic study ; a learned 
acquaintance with it was highly valued in popular estimation 
(Jos. Ant. XX. II, § 2) ; and the number of scribes, lawyers, 
etc. who possessed such knowledge was probably not incon- 
siderable ; but to the mass of the people the Hebrew Scrip- 
tures were a sealed book. Nor was there, so far as we know, 
prior to the Christian era, any Aramaic version. To the com- 
mon man — the man of common education — if he had any 


knowledge of Greek, the most natural and easy way to gain 
a knowledge of the Scriptures was by reading the Greek 
translation. That such use was made of it by great numbers 
of the people cannot well be doubted. Of the quotations 
from the Old Testament made by the writers of the New, the 
greater part are in the words of the LXX. Comparatively 
few give any clear evidence that the writer had in mind the 
Hebrew original. This familiarity with the Greek version 
makes it probable that it was used not only for private read- 
ing, but in the public services of the synagogue. In many 
places there may have been no one sufficiently acquainted 
with the ancient Hebrew to read and translate it for the con- 
gregation ; but in every community, we may presume, there 
were persons who could both read the Greek and add what- 
ever paraphrase or explanation may have been needed in 
Aramaic. It is apparent in the case of Josephus, that even 
men of learning who had studied the Hebrew were familiar 
with the version of the LXX. ; in his Antiquities Josephus makes 
more use of the latter than of the former. To the influence 
of the LXX. must be added that of a considerable Jewish- 
Greek literature, composed mainly in the last two centuries 
before Christ, the so-called Apocrypha of the Old Testament. 
It is true that one of these books, the Wisdom of Jesus the 
son of Sirach, is declared in its preface to be the translation 
of a work composed in Hebrew {i.e., not improbably, in 
Aramaic) by the grandfather of the translator. There is 
much reason for believing also that the First Book of Macca- 
bees was written in Hebrew ; and the same may perhaps be 
true of some other apocryphal books. The fact, however, 
that no one of them is extant in that language seems to show 
that in general use (except in countries east of the Syrian 
desert) the Hebrew (or Aramaic) original was early super- 
ceded by the Greek version. A case nearly parallel is seen in 
Josephus's History of the Jewish .War. It was composed (ac- 
cording to the statement of the preface) in the native tongue 
for the barbarians of the interior, i. e. beyond the Syrian de- 
sert, the limit of the Roman power. But for those under the 
Roman government he translated it into Greek {Tol<i Kara tt}v 
' Pcofuiitov ijye^oviav ry 'EXKo^l ^"Xxhaay fiera^aXcov). And 


this translation has so thoroughly superseded the original 
work that, but for the statement of its author, we should not 
have known, or perhaps even suspected, its existence. 

That Greek was generally understood by the people of 
Jerusalem is evident from the circumstances of Paul's address 
in Acts xxii. The multitude who listened with hushed atten- 
tion while he spoke to them in Aramaic were already atten- 
tive when expecting to hear him in Greek. It does not follow 
that all understood him in the former language, or that all 
would have understood him in the latter. To gain attention 
it would be enough that a large majority could understand 
the language of the speaker ; those who could not might 
still get some notion of the speech, its drift and substance, by 
occasional renderings of their fellows. 

The Greek New Testament is itself the strongest proof of 
the extent to which its language had become naturalized 
among the Jews of Palestine. Most of its writers, though not 
belonging to the lowest class, to the very poor, or the quite 
uneducated, were men in humble life, in whom one could 
hardly expect to find any learning or accomplishment beyond 
what was common to the great body of their countrymen. 
We are not speaking of Saul or Luke or the unknown writer 
of the Epistle to the Hebrews ; but of Peter, Jude, James, 
John, and Matthew, if (as is most probable) we have his 
gospel in its original language. Yet we find them not only 
writing in Greek, but writing in a way which proves that they 
were familiar with it and at home in it. They do not write it 
with elegance or with strict grammatical correctness ; but they 
show a facility, a confidence, an abundance of apt and forci- 
ble expression, which men seldom attain in a language not 
acquired in early life. Some have found in the Hebrew idioms 
which color their style an indication that they thought in 
Hebrew (or Aramaic), and had to translate their thoughts 
when they expressed them in Greek. But similar idioms oc- 
cur in the compositions of Paul, who as the native of a Greek 
city must have been all his life familiar with the Greek lan- 
guage. When Greek began to be spoken by Hebrews, learn- 
ing it in adult years, they had to go through a process of 
mental translation ; and the natural result was the formation 


of a Hellenistic dialect, largely intermixed with Semitic idioms, 
which they handed down to their descendants. The latter, 
as they did not cease to speak an Aramaic idiom, were little 
likely to correct the Aramaic peculiarities in the Greek re- 
ceived from their fathers. Josephus speaks with emphasis of 
the difficulty which even a well-educated Jew found in writing 
Greek with idiomatic accuracy. The Greek style of a Jew, 
especially when writing on religious subjects, was naturally 
affected by his familiarity with the LXX., which copied from 
the original many Hebrew forms of expression, and kept them 
alive in the memory and use of the people. 

In view of these proofs, the conclusion seems unavoidable 
that, as a general fact, the Palestine Jews of the first century 
were acquainted wiih both languages, Greek and Aramaic. 
It is probable, indeed, as already stated, that some were not 
acquainted with the Aramaic ; and it is by no means im- 
probable, though the proof is less distinct, that some were 
not acquainted with the Greek. Of both these classes the 
absolute number may have been considerable. But apparently 
they were the exceptions, the majority of the people having a 
knowledge more or less extended of both languages. Other 
instances of bilingual communities, of populations able for the 
most part to express themselves in two different tongues, are 
by no means wanting. One of the most striking at the pres- 
ent day is to be found in a people of Aramaean origin with a 
firmly held Aramaic vernacular, the Nestorian Syrians or 
Chaldee Christians. " In Persia most of the Nestorians are 
able to speak fluently the rude Tatar (Turkish) dialect used 
by the Mohammedans of this province, and those of the 
mountains are equally familiar with the language of the 
Koords. Still they have a strong preference for their own 
tongue, and make it the constant and only medium of inter- 
course with each other." (Stoddard's Preface to Modern 
Syriac Grammar, in Journal of Amer. Oriental Soc, vol. v.) 

It is a common opinion that by the pentecostal gift of 
tongues (Acts ii.) the Apostles were miraculously endowed 
with a knowledge of many languages and the power of using 
them at pleasure. But this gift would seem from the tenor 
of the accounts to have been a kind of inspiration under 


which the speaker gave utterance to a succession of sounds, 
without himself willing, or perhaps even understanding, the 
sounds which he uttered. It does not appear from the sub- 
sequent history that the Apostles in their teaching made use 
of any other languages than Greek and Aramaic. It is not 
necessary to suppose that Paul spoke Latin at Rome, or Mal- 
tese in Melita (Acts xxviii.), or Lycaoniari at Lystra (Acts 
xiv.). In the transactions at Lystra it is pretty clearly im- 
plied that Paul and Barnabas did not understand the speech 
of Lycaonia, and therefore failed to perceive and oppose the 
idolatrous intentions of the people until they had broken out 
into open act. 

In choosing between the two languages which they un- 
doubtedly possessed, the Apostles were of course guided by 
the circumstances. Outside of the Holy Land they would 
generally, if not always, make use of the Greek. In Syria, in- 
deed, a considerable part of the people — the same for which 
the Peshito version was made in the next century — would 
probably have understood an address in the Aramaic of Pal- 
estine ; but in Antioch, the capital where the disciples were 
first called Christians, Greek must have been the prevalent 
language. Even in Palestine, Paul's addresses to the Roman 
governors Felix and Festus would naturally be made in 
Greek. This is not so clear of the address to Agrippa, who 
had enjoyed a Jewish education. In the meeting of apostles 
and elders at Jerusalem (Acts xv.), occasioned by events in 
Antioch and attended by delegates from that city, the pro- 
ceedings were probably in Greek, as also the circular letter 
which announced its result to " the brethren which are of the 
Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia." When Peter on 
the day of Pentecost addressed the multitude of Jews gath- 
ered from many different countries, he would naturally use 
the language which was most widely understood. It is true 
that the " Parthians and Medes and Elamites — and Arabians," 
if no others, would have been most accessible to an Aramaic 
address ; so we judge from the fact that Josephus, writing 
for readers in these very lands, composed his history in the 
native tongue. Still, when we consider the "dwellers in 
Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, in 


Egypt and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers 
of Rome," it is probable that more would have understood 
Greek than Aramaic ; so that if there was only one address in 
one language (which perhaps the terms of the narrative do 
not require us to suppose), it was probably made in Greek. 

The difficulty of determining the language used for each 
particular discourse is even greater in the Gospels than in the 
Acts. It seems reasonable to suppose that conversations be- 
t\\'een kindred and friends, and the familiar utterances of 
Christ to his disciples, were in Aramaic ; the native idiom of 
the country', if not wholly given up, would naturally be em- 
ployed for occasions like these. Yet as long as speakers and 
hearers had another language at command, there always re- 
mains, in the absence of express statements, a possibility that 
this, and not Aramaic, may have been used for any given 
conversation. And if, on the other hand, it seems reasonable 
to suppose that our Lord in his more public discourses spoke 
Greek, there is a similar difficulty about being sure in particular 
cases that he did not use the other language which was familiar 
to him and to the mass of his hearers. A recent writer as- 
sumes that every discourse which, as reported to us, contains 
quotations from the Old Testament in the words of the LXX. , 
must have been pronounced in Greek ; and this criterion, 
were it trustworthy, would decide many cases. But if an 
Aramaic speech containing Scripture quotations were to be 
reported in Greek by a writer familiar with the LXX., who 
seldom (if ever) read the Scriptures in any other form, is it 
not probable that he would give the quotations for the most 
part according to the LXX.? Sometimes, it is likely, he 
would depart from it, because he did not correctly remember 
its phraseology ; and sometimes because he remembered that 
the Aramaic speaker gave the passage a sense varying from 
that given by the LXX. As the writers of the Gospels were 
probably in this condition — of persons famihar with the LXX. 
who seldom (if ever) read the Scriptures in any other form — 
it is unsafe from the way in which they give the Scripture 
quotations to infer anything as to the language used by the 
speakers who quoted them. There are instances, however, 
in which the circumstances of the case affiord some indications 


on this point. Thus in communicating with the people of 
Gadara, which Josephus calls a Greek city, our Lord would 
use the Greek language. Among the crowds who followed 
him before the Sermon on the Mount and who seem to have 
stood about the mountain while he was speaking, were some 
from Decapolis (Matt. iv. 25). As already stated, the ten 
cities of that region were (most, if not all, of them) Greek. 
As our Lord had thus in the surrounding multitude of his 
auditors some who probably were unacquainted with Ara- 
maic, there is plausible ground for believing that on this im- 
portant occasion he made use of the Greek language. In the 
closing scenes of his Hfe, when he was brought before the 
Roman governor for judgment and execution, it is nearly cer- 
tain that Greek was used by Pilate himself and by the various 
speakers about his tribunal. 

It is stated in the Mishnah (Sotah, c. 9, n. 14) that, when 
the war of Titus broke out, an order was issued in which 
fathers were forbidden to have their sons instructed in Greek. 
Whether this is true or not, it would be only natural that the 
excited patriotism of such a time should cause the Jews to 
set a higher value on their national tongue. Perhaps those 
who spoke Greek and Aramaic were now inclined as far as 
possible to discard the use of Greek ; the Targums, which 
seem to have made their first appearance or to have assumed 
a permanent shape about this time, would be a help in 
doing so. At all events, there is reason for believing that 
after this period there was a considerable population in Pales- 
.tine who did not understand Greek. The general opinion of 
the Fathers (from Clement of Alexandria down), that the 
Epistle to the Hebrews was composed in Aramaic, had 
probably no other foundation than the belief that it would 
otherwise have been unintelligible to the Jews of Palestine 
for whom it was designed. This belief is of Httle weight as 
regards the original language of the epistle ; but as regards 
the prevailing language of Palestine in later times it may not 
be without value. Eusebius of Caesarea, a native and life- 
long resident of Palestine, declares (Dem. Evang. lib. iii.) 
that the Apostles before the death of their Master understood 
no language but that of the Syrians ; this he would hardly 


have done if Greek had been generally spoken by the Gal- 
ilaeans of his own day. 

The discussion as to the language of Palestine in our 
Saviour's time has been quite generally connected with the 
question whether Matthew wrote his Gospel in Hebrew or 
in Greek. Most defenders of the Hebrew original (as Du 
Pin, Mill, Michaelis, Marsh, Weber, Kuinoel, etc.) have 
maintained that this was the only language then understood 
by the body of the people. And many champions of the 
Greek original (as Cappell, Basnage, Masch, Lardner, 
Walaeus, etc.) have made a like claim for the Greek. For 
a full list of the older writers, see Kuinoel in Fabricius, Bibl. 
Grceca, ed. Harles. iv. 760. We add the names of some 
writers who have treated the subject more at large. Isaac 
Vossius {^De Oraculis Sibyllinis, Oxon. 1680), though a 
staunch believer in the Hebrew original, held that Greek was 
almost universal in the towns of Palestine, and that the Sy- 
riac still spoken in the country and in villages had become so 
corrupted as to be a kind of mongrel Greek. He found an 
opponent in Simon {Hist. Crit. du Texte du N. T. , Rotterd. 
1689), who allowed that Greek was the common language 
{langiie vulgaire) of the country, but contended that the Jews, 
beside the Greek, had preserved the Chaldee which they 
brought with them from Babylon, and which they called the 
national language. Diodati of Naples {De Christo Greece 
loquente, 1767 ; reprinted, London, 1843) went further than 
Vossius, asserting that Greek in the days of our Lord had 
entirely supplanted ^e old Palestinian dialect. Replies to 
this work were put forth by Ernesti {in Neueste Theol. Bibl. , 
1 771) and De Rossi {Delia Lingua propria di Christo, Parma, 
1772). De Rossi's work was adopted by Pfannkuche as the 
basis of his essay on the Aramaean language in Palestine (in 
Eichhorn's Allgem. Bibl., 1797), translated by E. Robinson 
(in Am. Bibl. Rcpos., 183 1) with an introduction on the 
literature of the subject. Another translation (by T. G. 
Repp) is given in Clark's Biblical Cabinet, vol. ii. Against 
Pfannkuche, who is one-sided in his advocacy of the Aramaic, 
Hug {Einl. in d. N'. T., 4th ed., 1847; 3d ed. translated 
by Fosdick, Andover, 1836) maintained the concurrent use of 


Greek. His position — which is nearly the same with that of 
Simon — is held substantially by most later writers, as Credner 
{Einl. in d. N. T., Halle, 1836) and Bleek {Einl. in d. N. T., 
Berlin, 1862). A somewhat more advanced position is taken 
by Dr. Alex. Roberts {Discussions on the GospelSy 2d ed., 
London, 1863), who, while admitting that both languages 
were in general use, contends that our Lord spoke'for the most 
part in Greek, and only now and then in Hebrew (Aramaic), 


a, historj' of English pronunciation 
of, 244, 246-248. 

ablative case, Greek genitive as, 
44-55 ; Latin ablative in d, 47. 

accent, Greek, nature and theory 
of, 1 10-127; the various accents 
and their signs, iio-iii ; differ- 
ence of pitch as an element in 
Greek accent, 111-114, 127; 
whether accompanied with stress 
of voice, 1 1 3-1 17; question of 
middle tone in, 11 7- 119, 127; 
laws of position of, 121 -122; 
theory of cadence explaining them, 

accent, Latin, laws of, and theory 
of cadence explaining them, 124- 

acute accent, no. 

yEolic dialect, accentuation of, 123- 

Ahrens on (Knaros, 64 ; on loss of 
sigma, 78. 

ai, early English pronunciation of, 

Anglo-Saxon genitive continued in 
English possessive, 222-239. 

Anglo-Saxon pronunciation, its re- 
lation to later English, 240-262 ; 
relation of its vowel quantity to 
English, 263-295. 

Anglo-Saxon transliteration of Greek 
passages, 128-140. 

Aramaic or Chaldee, familiar lan- 
guage of Palestine at the time of 
Christ, 403-408 ; its alternation in 
use with Greek, 413-416. 

Arauack passive formation, 210. 

Aristides Ouintilianus on Greek 
rhythmic, 85-86. 

Aristoxenus on Greek rhj-thmic, 85, 
86,90-91,93-95; riiythmic feet as 
defined by him, 99-103. 

Armenian future, 189. 

arsis and thesis, original meaning 
of, 95-96 ; exchanged in modem 

usage, 96-97 ; ratios of arsis to 
thesis, 98. 
aspirate mutes, Indo-European, 
nature and history of, 168-183 5 
Sanskrit aspirates, 168-172 ; 
Bactrian, 172; Greek, 172-175; 
Latin, 172-173, 176 ; Slavonicand 
Lithuanian, 176-177 ; Celtic, 177 ; 
Germanic, 177-178 ; aspirates in 
original Indo-European language, 
178-179; their compound charac- 
ter, 1 79 ; question whether surd 
or sonant, 179-183 ; Kuhn's views 
discussed, 180-183. 

Babylonian captivity, its effect on 
language of Palestine, 404. 

Bactrian aspirate mutes, 172. 

Bekker's digammated edition of 
Homer criticised, 56-80. 

Bentley's views of Greek metric, 
97, 104. 

Bibligal sevens, 330-334. 

Bunsen's views of the Ionian Migra- 
tion, 26-27. 

Bursian's views of do., 27. 

Byron, character and tendency of 
his writings, 346-349- 

Byzantine Greek pronunciation of 
the loth centurj-, 128-140. 

Cassar, Julius, his labors on Greek 
rhythmic and metric, 88-89, ^°^- 

Carlyle, defects in his theory of 
government, 361-362. 

Celtic, aspirate mutes of, 177, 182 ; 
passive formation of, 202. 

Chaucer, rhymes of, 255-257; or- 
thography proposed for, 257-259. 

Chinese, passive expression in, 212. 

chronology of the Hebrews, 385- 

circumflex accent, iio-iii. 

Classen's views of the Ionian Migra- 
tion, 21-23. 

Crosby's view of the Greek genitive, 



Curtius, E., his theory of Ionian Mi- 
gration explained and discussed, 

Curtius, G., on the j-sound in 
Greek, 60, 72-75 ; on the Greek 
relative stem, 76-77 ; on Greek 
accent, 119. 

day-dreaming, indulgence in, 369- 

Demosthenes's perfection as orator, 


digamma, its value, 58 ; its appear- 
ance in Homer, 58-80 ; its treat- 
ment in connection with the aug- 
ment, 68-69 j wi^h t^^ reduplica- 
tion, 70-72. 

digammated edition of Homer, Bek- 
ker's, criticised, 56-80. 

Dionysius of Halicarnassus on 
Greek accent, 112-114. 

Dondorff' s views of the Ionian Mi- 
gration, 31. 

Duncker's views of do., 20-21. 

e, history of English pronunciation 
of, 244-245 ; unaccented final e, 

Egyptian records, their bearing on 
the Ionian theory, 11-13, 26-27. 

ei, early English pronunciation of, 

Ellis, A. J., his account of Anglo- 
Saxon transliteration of Greek, 
128-140; his view of Greek pro- 
nunciation in loth century, 138- 
140 ; his Early English Pronuncia- 
tion "reviewed, 240-262. 

eloquence, question of superiority 
between ancient and modern, 349- 


English, Ellis's work on early pro- 
nunciation of, reviewed, 240-262 ; 
history of pronunciation of vowels, 
244-251 ; of consonants, 251-255 ; 
pronunciation of Chaucer and 
Gower, 255-259 ; his insufficient 
treatment of vowel quantity, 260- 

English orthography, its value, 351- 

English vowel quantity m 13th and 
19th centuries compared, 263- 
295 ; nature of distinction of long 
and short vowel, 263-265 ; persis- 
tence of English quantities, 265 ; 

evidence of the Ormulum as to 
this, 265-295 ; general accordance 
between Ormulum and modern 
English, 267 ; cases of discord- 
ance, 268-295 ; vowel lengthened 
where a consonant lost, 268-273 > 
before a weak r, I'jyz'j'] ; before 
/, 277-278 ; before mb, nd, ng, 
278-281 ; vowel shortened before 
other consonant combinations, 
281-284; lengthened in an open 
syllable, .285-290 ; other isolated 
changes, 290-293 ; changes in 
endings and suffixes, 293-295. 
Europe, its tendency toward repub- 
licanism, 361-369. 

foot, meaning of the term in metric, 
81 ; composed of arsis and thesis, 
95-99 > rhythmic feet according to 
Aristoxenus, 99-102 ; compound 
feet, 102-106; irrational feet, 106- 

forty, predominance of, in the He- 
brew chronology, 390-402. 

futures, formation of, in Indo-Euro- 
pean languages, 184-198; the fu- 
ture in Semitic, 184-185 ; in Ger- 
manic, 186; in Celtic, 187-188, 
192 ; relation of future to sub- 
junctive or potential, 188-189; 
Armenian future, 189 ; Greek, 
Sanskrit, and Lithuanian future 
in s, 189-191 ; Latin futures, 189, 
191-193; Slavonic, 192-194 ; Ro- 
manic, 194; later Germanic, 195- 
196; question of original Indo- 
European formations, 196-198. 

g, its suppression has lengthened the 
preceding vowel in English, 269- 
270 ; softened into the consonant 
y-sound, 270-271. 

genitive, Greek, as an ablative 
case, 44-55 ; Kiihner's treatment 
of the case, 44-46 ; criticisms on 
it, 46-55 ; relation of Greek case- 
system to Indo-European, 47-48 ; 
Greek genitive represents more 
than one original case, 49-55- 

German, dialectic possessive ex- 
pressions, 230-231 ; passive for- 
mation, 200-201. 

Germanic languages, want of dis- 
tinction between the present and 



future, 1 86 ; later auxiliary fu- I 
tures, 196. [ 

Germany, Napoleon's influence on, i 
358-359 ; tendency to unity in, j 
359-360. , ^ I 

gh, pronunciation of m early Eng- 
lish, 254. 

Goldstucker, his view of English 
possessive, 226. 

Gothic aspirate mutes, 177 ; pas- 
sive formations, 208-211. 

government, its ideal ofifice and 
perfection, 362-363. 

Gower, rhymes of, 255-257. 

grave accent, iii. 

Greek accent, nature and theory of, 
1 10- 1 27 — and see accent 

Greek aspirates, their original pro- 
nunciation, 172-175. 

Greek future, 189-191. 

Greek genitive as an ablative, 44- 

56- - . 

Greek language, relation to Italican, 

141 ; Greek as used in Palestine 

at the time of Christ, 408-413. 
Greek, modern, Ross's view of the 

antiquity of its pronunciation, 161- 

162 ; Ellis's do., 138-140; its loss 
of ancient vowel quantity, 263. 

Greek passive, 206-209. 

Greek pronunciation in loth cen- 

tur>', 128-140. 
Greek rhythm and metre, 81-109 — 

and see metre. 
Greeks and Italicans, Ross on the 

relation of their languages, 141- 

163 ; their true relations, 163-167. 
Greeks, their superiority in arts, 350. 
Greek words and letters : 

aw, its sound in loth century, 135- 


e, origin of its name, 135. 

eKQ'jTos, 64, 78-80. 

€»caTfpoy, (KdTfp6f, 79'So. 

fXwp, etc., 65-66. 

eotjca. etc., 72-73. 

€or, 78. 

fpvofiai and fpvw, 66-68. 

fTos, 65. 

eu, its sound in loth centur>', 135- 

j;, its sound in loth century, 132- 

^<CTo, 69-70. 

6foirpc)iros, derivation of, 38-43. 
lepiat and irjfii^ 73"74' 

*Ia)i'fs, 'Idovey, lO. 

01, its sound in loth century, 134- 

irpoiKTTji, irpoii^, 38. 
V, its sound in loth century, 132 ; 

its name, 135. 
vX»7, 78. 
Gutschmid's views of the Ionian 
Migration, 27-31. 

^, its pronunciation in early Eng- 
lish, 254 ; its suppression some- 
times lengthens the preceding 
.vowel, 271, 272. 

Hammer Purgstall on the number 
seven, 339. 

Hebrew, a dead language in the 
time of Christ, 404. 

Hebrew chronology', from Moses to 
Solomon, account of, 385-402 ; 
discrepant statement of the He- 
brew text and the Septuagint, 
385 ; discordance of both with the 
items in Judges, etc., 386-388 ; 
relation to Paul's statement in 
Acts, 387 ; method of the rec- 
onciliation of the discrepancies, 
388-389 ; prominence of the num- 
ber forty in the series, 390-392 ; 
apparent artificiality, in part, of 
the chronology-, 393-402 ; rela- 
tion to number of generations, 
397-399 ; connection with Egyp- 
tian history, 400 ; sources used, 

Ais, question of its use in formation 
of the English possessive case, 

Homer, Bekker's digammated edi- 
tion of, 56-80. 

Homeric sevens, 325-326. 

Hungarian passive formations, 210. 

/, history of its pronunciation in 

English, 244-246. 
Ibn Khojle on the number seven, 


immortality, whether demonstrable 
from the light of nature, 373-379. 

Indian sevens, 327-329. 

Indo-European aspirate mutes, na- 
ture and history of, 168-183 — ^^^ 
see aspirates. 

Indo-European futures, 184-198—- 
and see futures. 

Indo-European languages, their re- 
lation to one another, 145-146. 



intransitive verbs, expressing pas- 
sive, 210-213. 

Ionian, origin and application of 
the name, lo-ii, 22, 23-24. 

Ionian Migration, E. Curtius's the- 
ory respecting, 1-19 ; discussions 
of it by other scholars, 20-36. 

lonians, their position in early 
Greece, 16-18. 

Irish future, 192. 

is being, English continuous pas- 
sive, 212. 

Italian passive reflexive, 203. 

Italicans, relation of their language 
to Greek, 141. 

Italicans and Greeks, Ross on the 
relation of their languages, 141- 
163 ; their true relations, 163-167. 

Josephus, his testimony as to the 
language of Palestine, 404-405, 

k, its pronunciation in early Eng- 
lish, 253. 

Knight's digammated Iliad, 56. 

Koran, its sevens, 337. 

Kuhn, his views upon primitive as- 
pirates, 180-182. 

Klihner's treatment of the Greek 
genitive, 44-46. 

/, vowel lengthened where it is lost in 
English, 269 ; other cases of pro- 
traction before, 277-278, 281. 

labialized consonants, Ellis's views 
of, 253. 

Latin ablative in d, 47. 

Latin accent, laws and theory of, 

Latin aspirate mutes, 172-173, 176. 

Latin future, expressed by potential 
or optative, 188-189, 191-193 5 
future in bo, 191 - 192 ; future 
perfect, 191. 

Latin passive, 201-202, 205-206. 

Latin subjunctive, uses of, 215-220. 

Layamon's Brut, English genitive or 
possessive in, 233-235. 

Lepsius's views on the Ionian Mi- 
gration, 13, 26 ; on aspirate mutes, 

liberty, civil. Napoleon's influence 
on, 356-361. • 

Lithuanian future, 190 ; passive, 

Madvig, his treatment of Latin sub- 
junctive, 219-220 ; of genitive 
case, 52. 

Manning's essay on English posses- 
sive case, reviewed, 221-239. 

nib, English short vowel lengthened 
before, 278-281. 

metre, ancient Greek, 81-109 ; ^6" 
lation of rhythmic, metric, and or- 
chestic, 81-82 ; Greek writers on 
metric, 82-84 ; relation of metric 
and music, 83, 89-92 ; labors of 
Rossbach and Westphal on Greek 
metric, 87-109; arsis and thesis 
and their ratios, 95-99 ; metrical 
feet according to Aristoxenus, 
99-102; compound and extended 
feet, 102-106 ; irrational feet, 
106-108 ; protracted syllables and 
pauses, 82, 84, 103, 108, 109. 

middle voice, endings of, 207. 

Misteli on Greek accent, 119. 

Napoleon's influence on civil liberty 

in Europe, 356-361. 
nd, short English vowel lengthened 

before, 278-281. 
Nestorians a bilingual community, 

New Testament, vernacular of its 

writers, 403-418. 
ng, short English vowel lengthened 

before, 280-281. 

0, history of English pronunciation 
of, 244-245. 

Old Slavonic passive, 203, 

orchestic, its relation to rhythm and 
metre, 81. 

Ormulum, English genitive or pos- 
sessive in, 235-236 ; its orthogra- 
phy, 265-266; its vowel quantities 
compared with those of modern 
English, 268-295. 

orthography, English, its value, 

ou, early English pronunciation of, 

palseotype, Ellis's system of, 241- 

Palestine, language of, at the time 
of Christ, 403-418 ; use of Ara- 
maic in, 403-408 ; of Greek, 408- 
413; special HcUenizing in- 
fluences in Palestine, 409-410 ; 
influence of the Septuagint, 410 ; 



the two languages used together, 
and each according to circum- 
stances, 413-416; authorities on 
the subject, 417-418. 
passive formations, 199-214 ; Eng- 
hsh, 199-200 ; German, 200-201 ; 
Latin, 201-202, 20^-10/S; Celtic, 

202 ; Italian, 203 ; Old Slavonic, 

203 ; Wallachian, 203 ; Lithuani- 
an, 204 ; Scandinavian, 204-205 ; 
Greek, 206-209 5 Gothic, 208- 
211; Sanskrit, 208-209; Hun- 
garian, etc., 210 ; Arauack, 210 ; 
Semitic, 211 ; Tibetan and Chi- 
nese, 212-213 ; Indian and Afri- 
can, 212-213 ; Philippine, 214. 

pentameter, rhythmic character of, 

Persian sevens, 329. 
Philippine passive formation, 214. 
Philo Judaeus on the number seven, 


pitch, difference of, main element 
in Greek accent, 110-113. 

position not felt in English as mak- 
ing length, 264. 

possessive case, English, origin of, 

prach as a Greek root, 37-43. 

Princess, Tennyson's, review of, 

Priscian on the Latin/, 172-173. 

quantity of English vowels — see 
English vowel quantity. 

r, pronunciation of in early Eng- 
lish, 251-252 ; effect of weak r 
on preceding vowel, 273-277. 

reflexive origin of passive forma- 
tions, 202-210; its rationale, ick^- 

relative, Greek, original form of, 

republicanism, tendency of Europe 
towards, 361-369. 

rhymes of Chaucer and Gower, 

rhythm, ancient Greek, 81-109 '■> 

Greek writers on rhythmic, 84- 

87 — and see metre. 
Romanic futures, 194. 
Ross on the relation of Italicans and 

Greeks, and of the Latin and 

Greek languages, reviewed, 141- 


Rossbach and Westphal, their la- 
bors on Greek rhythmic and met- 
ric, 87. 

s of the English possessive, its 
origin from Anglo-Saxon genitive, 


Salesbury, W., on English pronun- 
ciation, 242-243, 246-247, 250, 

Sanskrit, its use in Indo-European 
etymology-, 144-145 ; its relation 
to other Indo-European lan- 
guages, 145-146 ; its accents, 
119, 120; aspirate mutes, 168- 
172 ; future, 190; passive, 208-209. 

Savelsberg on the Greek relative, 

Scandinavian passive, 204-205. 

Schomann's views of Ionian Migra- 
tion, 23-24. 

Semitic future, 184-185 ; passive, 

Septuagint, influence of, on lan- 
guage of Palestine, 410-41 1. 

seven, its peculiar sanctity, 325- 
345 ; Homeric sevens, 325-326 ; 
other Greek, 326-327 ; Indian, 
327-329 ; Persian, 329 ; Biblical, 
330-334 ; Shakspearian, 335-337 ; 
Arabic, 337-338 ; authors who 
have wTitten on the seven, 328- 
329 ; reasons of its prominence, 
339-345 ; arithmetical, 339-340 ; 
chronological, 340-341 ; physio- 
logical, 341-342 ; astronomical, 


Seven Sleep>ers, story of the, 328. 

j//-sound in early English, 255. 

Shakspearian sevens, 335-337. 

sigma, its disappearance in Greek, 

Slavonic futures, 192-194. 

Spanish passive reflexive, 203. 

spelling of English, question of re- 
form of, 351-356; difficulty of 
learning, 352-354 ; Johnson's dic- 
tionar)' as standard of, 354-355 ; 
objections to a new system con- 
sidered, 355-356. 

stress of voice as element in Greek 
accent, 113-117. 

subjunctive, relation of future to, 
188-189; uses of in Latin, 215- 

Susemihl on Greek rhythmic, 89. 



Targums, evidence of, as to lan- 
guage of Palestine, 405, 416. 

Tartaric passives, 210. 

Tennyson's Princess, review of, 

thesis— see arsis. 

to, English infinitive sign, 54. 

tone, high, low, middle, in Greek 
and Latin accent, 1 10-127 > tone 
in Chinese, 127. 

u, history of English pronunciation 
of, 244, 248-250. 

vegetable diet, whether advantage- 
ous, 379-384- 

w, its suppression lengthens the 
preceding vowel, 272-273. 

Wallachian passive, 203. 

Wallis, J., on English pronuncia- 
tion, 243, 247-249. 

Weil on Greek metric, 87, 104. 

Welsh future expression, 187-188; 
Welsh glosses in Greek MSS., 129. 

Westphal's labors on Greek rhyth- 
mic and metric, 85-109. 

wh, early English pronunciation 
of, 252. 

worth, ' become,' 200. 

wr, early English pronunciation of, 

Wurfifbain on the number seven, 

j/-sound, consonant, its origin in 
English from g, 270 ; from other 
letters, 271. 

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